Video of Dr. Greg Hunt of Purdue University, Dept. of Entomology speaking to the Southeastern Indiana Beekeepers Association. He talks a little about pesticides, but what really caught my interest is that he's been selectively breeding for bees that will chew the ankles of varroa mites.
His experiences seem to suggest that finding mites with chewed off legs on the bottom board may correspond to hygienic behaviour in honeybees. After selecting for this behaviour, very few of his colonies require mite treatments.
A presentation by Thomas Seeley where he outlines a few different communication signals used by the bees to effectively and efficiently distribute the number of bees taking on different tasks in honey making.
Here is a quick overview:
Shake signal - Tells bees in the hive that they need more foragers.
Waggle dance - Informs bee about where to find nectar
Tremble dance - Communicates a need for more bees in the hive to work at collecting and storing the nectar brought in by the foragers.
The beep signal - If bees that are Tremble dancing encounter waggle dancers they may give them the beep signal as a way of letting them know they should stop.
Honeybee Democracy is one of my favourite bee books. The book summarizes Seeley's life long quest to understand the natural behaviour of this marvellous insect. Rather then talking about what we should do to our bees, the book focuses on what and how the bees, when left to their own devices, decide to do some of the things they do.
Seeley goes into the details of his ground breaking experiments which encompass most of what we currently know about feral hives, the communication processes involved during a swarm and the characteristics of a good bait hive. We also get some insight into Seeley's scientific process and the creative approaches used to uncover honeybee mysteries.
While I consider this a valuable read for all beekeepers, the stories describing the honeybee's sophisticated approaches to communication and decision making will also appeal to the non-beekeepers with a healthy sense of curiosity. You can find a copy on Amazon here.
The following video lecture gives a summary of the ideas discussed in the book. Watch with caution if you haven't read yet read the book. You might spoil some of the suspense.