This is a TOUGH one! In my opinion, the most important chapter in the 1992 EXTENSIVELY REVISED edition of THE HIVE AND HONEY BEE is Chapter 8, by Dr. Norm Gary and it is all about BEE BEHAVIOR, or as I call it, “thinking like a bee”.
Most readers of the 1300+ pages of the H & HB pass by Chapter 8 as “boring” and precede to the part of the book about “making more honey”. Many of those readers are still beeHAVERS years later, because they ignored to learn about BEE BEHAVIOR.
I will touch on a few highlights about BB.
A bee “emerges into our world” without help, no boss to show her WHAT to do, HOW to do it, WHEN to do it, or WHY to do it.
God created a bee with this instinctive knowledge, and the bee of 2004 is identical to the bee found in the Garden of Eden and now surrounded by billions of human beings has not learned one single thing from we humans and still does the things she was taught to do by her Creator at the moment of her entrance into our world. BTW, this was very simply proved by scientists, who placed several frames of capped brood and NO LIVE BEES in an incubator, and observed their actions upon “emerging”.
They all did just what the bees in your colony do every day. In other words, God has provided all the intelligence that a bee needs, and there is nothing that you can do to change that. A bee does NOT have the ability to LEARN.
The “trick” to being a successful beekeeper is for YOU to LEARN those things that a bee will tolerate and, contrastingly. those things that a bee finds offensive.
YOU HAVE THE ABILITY TO LEARN (I hope), and being intelligent, you use your gift of knowledge to manipulate and manage your bees so that they do MORE than make winter stores of honey for themselves, but make an extra 100-200 pounds for YOU.
We humans are highly dependent on the sense of SIGHT and HEARING and very little of our lives are concerned about the sense of SMELL, unless it is a rotten egg or a seductive woman’s perfume.
However, even though having 5 eyes (bet you did not know that), the honey bee has lousy eyesight and is blind to the color RED, and does not even have any EARS to hear with! Of course, bees work inside a totally DARK hive with those lousy eyes, so it becomes obvious that the SENSE of SIGHT in not important to a bee. What is important?
The OLFACTORY sense (SMELL) of the bee is by far it’s most important sense. It SMELLS nectar, and then pollinates crops by accident in the process of collecting that nectar, it knows its queen is alive and well by SMELLING the pheromone produced by the queen, the bee must have the CORRECT hive odor to pass by the guard bees as it enters a hive after flying, it is attracted to help other bees defend their colony if the alarm pheromone SMELL is in the air, and lastly, beekeepers who wear perfume, hair tonic, body lotion, or just stinking sweat INVITE stings because those odors are foreign to the nature of the bee.
Speaking of BEE BEHAVIOR, the great majority of people think of a bee by using ANTHROPOMORPHIC thinking which is wrong, wrong! Bees can NOT be viewed or dealt with as if they were humans, because they are NOT humans, don’t think like humans, and don’t understand how to adjust the things that humans try to “saddle” on them.
I have hope that you will pay $36 for a 1992 EXTENSIVELY REVISED Edition of THE HIVE and HONEY BEE and read the 105 pages of Dr. Norm Gary’s Chapter 8 regarding BEE BEHAVIOR. It is tough reading, no question about that, but aren’t most things of great value TOUGH?