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World Bee Day

The giant honey bee (Apis dorsata) workers. Thailand

On World Bee Day (20th May 2020) I can do no better than recommend the excellent novel, The Bees, by Laline Paull. The book tells the story from the point of view of a honeybee (Flora 717). It is a novel, rather than a biology book, but conjures up the life of a hive of honeybees with great charm and invention. I particularly like the way the bees are able to communicate with each other via their antennae. We are beginning to understand that the cuticular hydrocarbons on the surface of insects contain a wealth of information. To this can be added the language of bees with their waggle dances and pheromones. For me, it brought the life of an insect alive in a magical way, described here and here.

Honey bee on Japanese Knotweed flowers, UK
The Bees by Laline Paull

rcannon992 View All

I am an entomologist with a background in quarantine pests and invasive invertebrates. I studied zoology at Imperial College (University of London) and did a PhD on the population dynamics of a cereal aphid (Metopolophium dirhodum) in the UK. I spent 5 years with the British Antarctic Survey studing cold hardiness of Antarctic invertebates and 17 years with the Food and Environment Research Agency. My main interests now are natural history, photography, painting and bird watching.

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