Friday, January 20, 2023

ChatGPT - what do you know about honey bees?

beekeeping,bee,varroa,artificial intelligence,swarm trap,ChatGPT

beekeeping,bee,varroa,artificial intelligence,swarm trap,ChatGPT

Here is my experience with asking ChatGPT about honey bees.

  • easy to use 
  • replied quickly with niche knowledge about honey bees
  • challenges web search business
  • if a portion of the reply is incorrect, I pressed the "Regenerate" button; the screenshot is the best reply after 5 tries; including "simple terms" in the request kept the reply short
beekeeping,bee,varroa,artificial intelligence,swarm trap,ChatGPT

Friday, November 11, 2022

pesticide, microbiota and seasonal diet

The Beekeeping Today Podcast discussion of "Winter Bees, Summer Bees and Imidacloprid" led me to dig into that journal article topic. The assumptions in the article are:

  • Naïve lab bees fed clean syrup that had no transfer of bacteria and microbiota by contact with other adult bees are more sensitive to stressors and therefore avoid the highly toxic neonicotide Imidacloprid (IMP) in the caged challenge
  • Winter bees live longer (estimated age of 2 to 3 months) and accumulate more intestinal microbiota and are therefore less sensitive to IMP

Influence of honey bee seasonal phenotype and emerging conditions on diet behavior and susceptibility to imidacloprid concludes:

  • Winter bees preferred IMP-tainted syrup at both 5 and 20 PPB
  • Summer bees' preference for IMP-tainted syrup was neutral
  • Naïve summer bees that emerged in a lab (not exposed to other adult bees and fed clean syrup) avoided IMP-tainted syrup in the caged challenge

 method and materials:

  • 2700 winter and summer bees in 27cages (100 bees/cage) were challenged with IMP tainted syrup (5 and 20 PPB)
  • 3 syrup feeding setups
    • 1:1 versus 1:1 untainted (clean) syrup; control 1 versus control 2
    • swapped locations; 1:1 versus 5 PPB (sub-lethal, next to nothing concentration)
    • swapped locations; 1:1 versus 20 PPB (lethal concentration)

beekeeping,intestinal microbiota,pesticide,winter bee,

Monday, November 7, 2022

urban and suburban pesticide risk

The Two Bees in a Podcast discussion of "Finding Pesticide Residue in Nectar and Pollen" led me to dig into that journal article topic.

Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) Exposure to Pesticide Residues in Nectar and Pollen in Urban and Suburban Environments from Four Regions of the United States concludes:

  • 27% of all nectar and pollen samples contained detectable pesticide residues
  • more pesticides were detected in pollen than in nectar
  • no seasonal or spatial pesticide trends
  • 17 pesticides were detected in nectar samples and 60 in pollen samples. Where honey bee oral pesticide toxicity was known, those samples were entered into the EPA BeeREX risk assessment software and 4 pesticides showed a potential acute risk (survival) to honey bees - see table
 method and materials:
  • 768 nectar and 862 pollen samples collected monthly over 2 years
  • 8 locations in medium to large cities in California, Florida, Michigan, and Texas

 other links:

Risk Quotient

bee,beekeeping,pesticide risk,nectar,pollen,urban,suburban,

As the RQ equation shows, a tiny "acute oral LD50" can create a large Risk Quotient for any sample containing a small "residue in nectar".  For this reason, the table below is sorted in LD50 order with Imidacloprid appearing in the first row.

Products containing Imidacloprid

bee,beekeeping,pesticide risk,nectar,pollen,urban,suburban,

PesticideOral Acute LD50 (ug/bee)IntroducedEPA banned Pollen Nectar

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

swarm traps (bait hives) with UV-reactive blue entrance


beekeeping,bee,swarm,swarm trap,Thomas D. Seeley,UV-blue entrance,swarm lure,scout bees,

Impact of UV-Induced Blue Florescence Entrances concludes:

  • UV-reactive blue swarm trap entrances nearly doubled the number of scout bees observed over the control
  • Swarms selected the trap with the UV-blue entrance over the control 100% of the time
 method and materials:
  • conducted from May to August in 2020 and 2021 in western New York
  • 1.25 inch (3.2 cm) circular entrance hole
  • 1.59 cubic ft (45 liter) cavity volume
  • 4 frames without comb + 1 frame with some comb
  • attached to a tree at a height of 8-10 feet
  • 3 locations facing an open field with bee forage
  • 2 traps per location 200 feet apart with a 3D printed trap entrance using 1) UV-reactive blue filament or 2) white filament (control)
  • swarm lure spray applied weekly
  • weather permitting, 1 location included scout bee counting between 11:30am-4:00pm

Scout Bee Activity LoggedTrap Selected
Year 1 - 2020  
Location 1 YesUV-reactive blue
Location 2  UV-reactive blue
Location 3 UV-reactive blue
Year 2 - 2021 (traps swapped)  
Location 1 YesUV-reactive blue
Location 2  none
Location 3 UV-reactive blue

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Run-Away Split

sam comfort,bee,split,emergency queen,bee keeping,darwinian beekeeping,MABA,
MABA's August speaker, Sam Comfort, shared novel beekeeping and queen rearing practices with the club.   I was spellbound by Sam's life story and accomplishments including:

  • inexpensive construction - $0.80 hive box using rough sawmill lumber and bamboo skewer as a top bar
  • the demanding rhythm of Sam's calendar-driven queen-rearing business by grafting
  • SARE grant - emergency queen rearing using Run-Away Splits, Sam's variation on Walk-Away Splits

In the absence of a queen, 1) open brood pheromone (versus capped brood) helps retain worker bees in both queen rearing methods (split or grafting) and 2) that new comb is desirable in the Run-Away Split method.

sam comfort,bee,split,emergency queen,bee keeping,darwinian beekeeping,MABA,

sam comfort,bee,split,emergency queen,bee keeping,darwinian beekeeping,MABA,

NCSU report compared Sam's 32 mated emergency queens to their database of all tested queens and graded Sam's emergency queens as A- (high reproductive potential).  This dis-spelled my bias that emergency queens mate poorly.

sam comfort,bee,split,emergency queen,bee keeping,darwinian beekeeping,MABA,

Saturday, August 6, 2022

A.I. Art responds to my words

beekeeping,art,bee,books,software,artificial intelligence,

beekeeping,art,bee,books,software,artificial intelligence,

beekeeping,art,bee,books,software,artificial intelligence,

Often funny or disappointing, yet occasionally worth sharing - artificial intelligence (AI) responded to my words and painted a picture.  I discovered the AI software from a recent New York Times article and  jumped-in with a sentence from a beekeeping book, "At the Hive Entrance" by H. Storch (page 5). 

In hindsight, perhaps I should have read the wiki page or visited twitter to understand successful use of the software. Both a time wasting exercise or a discovery of something unexpected - here are some of the software limitations:

  • a request for more than 3 objects
  • negation
  • numbers
  • connected sentences

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Insect Apocalypse


decline in insects, citizen science

decline in insects, citizen science

Where have all the insects gone and what's next for birds, fish, or mammals that depend on these insects as food.  I started to read The Insect Crisis by Oliver Milman (2022) which opened with a dystopian Sci-Fi future without insects.  I quickly gave up in frustration and jumped to the book's references.   A lengthy science book that does not include one photo, table, or graph is not my scene.   Instead, I recommend reading The Insect Apocalypse Is Here - a 2018 New York Times article.

Entomologists and Citizen Scientists data lack:

  • long term studies
  • the right kind of studies to distinguish between 1) total insect numbers, 2) total weight of the insects and 3) local vanishing of specific insect species versus global vanishing of the same species

Decline in insect populations - Wikipedia page writes,

The causes of the declines in insect populations are not fully understood. They are likely to vary between different insect groups and geographical regions.[19] The factors suspected to be important are habitat destruction caused by intensive farming and urbanisation,[20][21][3] pesticide use,[22] introduced species,[23][3] climate change,[3] eutrophication from fertilizers, pollution,[24] and artificial lighting.[25][26][27]

The use of increased quantities of insecticides and herbicides on crops have affected not only non-target insect species, but also the plants on which they feed. Climate change and the introduction of exotic species that compete with the indigenous ones put the native species under stress, and as a result they are more likely to succumb to pathogens and parasites.[16] Plants grow faster in presence of increased CO2 but the resulting plant biomass contains fewer nutrients.[28] While some species such as flies and cockroaches might increase as a result,[3] the total biomass of insects is estimated to be decreasing by between about 0.9 to 2.5% per year.

I'm not skeptical of the fabulous citizen science work in Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, or the UK.  We don't know what we don't know (yet).

 A few more links to acknowledge the attached photos: