Garden And Gardener

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Tom Seeley video

by Diane - June 25th, 2014.
Filed under: Bees.

You can buy his book here at Amazon Honeybee Democracy
it’s a brilliant read for anyone interested in bees and will help you make and place the ideal bait box. Honeybees make decisions collectively–and democratically. Every year, faced with the life-or-death problem of choosing and traveling to a new home, honeybees stake everything on a process that includes collective fact-finding, vigorous debate, and consensus building. In fact, as world-renowned animal behaviorist Thomas Seeley reveals, these incredible insects have much to teach us when it comes to collective wisdom and effective decision making. A remarkable and richly illustrated account of scientific discovery, Honeybee Democracy brings together, for the first time, decades of Seeley’s pioneering research to tell the amazing story of house hunting and democratic debate among the honeybees.

In the late spring and early summer, as a bee colony becomes overcrowded, a third of the hive stays behind and rears a new queen, while a swarm of thousands departs with the old queen to produce a daughter colony. Seeley describes how these bees evaluate potential nest sites, advertise their discoveries to one another, engage in open deliberation, choose a final site, and navigate together–as a swirling cloud of bees–to their new home. Seeley investigates how evolution has honed the decision-making methods of honeybees over millions of years, and he considers similarities between the ways that bee swarms and primate brains process information. He concludes that what works well for bees can also work well for people: any decision-making group should consist of individuals with shared interests and mutual respect, a leader’s influence should be minimized, debate should be relied upon, diverse solutions should be sought, and the majority should be counted on for a dependable resolution.

An impressive exploration of animal behavior, Honeybee Democracy shows that decision-making groups, whether honeybee or human, can be smarter than even the smartest individuals in them.

My bait box worked this year.

bait box worked!

My bait box was made last year for placing in a church yard where there were bees. We didn’t catch a swarm and the box ended up in my shed over winter. In spring I needed the room in my allotment shed and so shoved the box out on to the sides of the compost bin next to the shed. I was planning on taking it to my in laws garden to put on their flat roof garage but one Saturday morning I had a call from Andy on the allotment telling me there were bees going in to the bait box. I went out and sure enough, bees were moving in! There’s no sign of eggs yet which is a worry but I am still hopeful and will be inspecting them again very soon.