The worst places to get stung by a bee "It started when a honeybee flew up Michael Smith’s shorts and stung him in the testicles." Smith's painstaking study adds another dimension to the well-researched Schmidt Sting Pain Index.
"My subject is a barren one – the world of nature, or in other words life; and that subject in its least elevated department, and employing either rustic terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover, the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet one Roman who has tackled single-handed all departments of the subject."Naturalis Historia was written by Pliny the Elder between 77 and 79 CE and was meant to serve as a kind of proto-encyclopedia discussing all of the ancient knowledge available to him, covered in enough depth and breadth to make it by a reasonable margin the largest work to survive to the modern day from the Roman era. The work includes discussions on astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology and botany organized along Aristotelian divisions of nature but also includes essays on human inventions and institutions. It is dedicated to the Emperor Titus in its epistle to the Emperor Vespasian, a close friend of Pliny who relied on his extensive knowledge, and its unusually careful citations of sources as well as its index makes it a precursor to modern scholarly works. It was Pliny's last work, as well as sadly his sole surviving one, and was published not long before his death attempting to save a friend from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum, famously recounted by Pliny's eponymous nephew Pliny the Younger.
Here is a reasonable translation that is freely available to download from archive.org for your edification.[more inside]
The USGS Native Bee Inventory and Monitoring Program designs and develops large and small-scale surveys and identification tools for native bees. A vital aspect of the program is to create accurate and detailed pictures of native bees as well as the plants and insects they interact with. To that end, Sam Droege has curated a collection of more than 1,200 macro photos of insects and posted them to the USGS NBIaMP Flickr collection. You can also browse via sets, if the unfiltered collection is too much to take in at once. This group has also provided a guide to taking macro photographs of insects in a lab setting (PDF).
Bees have different “personalities”, with some showing a stronger willingness or desire to seek adventure than others, according to a study by entomologists at the University of Illinois.
The Insect Close-ups Flickr Pool is full of fascinating pictures. There are all kinds of wonderful images to be found, of spiders, ladybugs, hornets, aphids, grasshoppers, worms, water striders and those superstars of the insect world, bees and butterflies. You can also search a map for pictures by location. If you want to take your own bug photographer Mark Plonsky has written a short how-to guide. He has taken some pretty great photographs of insects himself.
If a young worker attempts to reproduce, she is spreadeagled by her fellows and kept immobilized for hours or even days. At the end of her sentence, the best she can hope for is a reduction in rank and loss of reproductive capability. Often she is mutilated or killed.Fascinating article about police-state behavior in insects, complete with information on mutant anarchist worker bees, ant-led coups, and parasitic self-cloning bees. (via BoingBoing.)
How would it be to be a bee? Einstein has been quoted as saying that if the bee were to suddenly disappear, mankind would survive only another four years. So, make a bow to your insect overlords, and visit this site by a neuroscientist researching bee vision to experience first-hand how a bee sees. The B-EYE software allows you to set various parameters to see how a bee would view selected images, including Einstein himself. Or test your bee communication skills at Nova's "Dances with Bees" page, where you watch the dance of a hive mate and then try to locate the nectar source that he's mapping out. If you're still not impressed, consider that bees possess higher cognitive functions, including the ability for abstract thought. Finally, find out why nice bees don't always finish last in a look at the guerrilla tactics wielded against the dreaded "killer bee" by mild-mannered Cape honeybees.