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History and Bees

Origins of Bees Hunting of Bees and Bee Products Bees as Prognosticators Bees and War History of Bee Biology & Management (see text)

Trained as Quantum Mathematician, received her Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics, 1941 Got a beehive as a wedding present.

Wrote 18 books, >180 papers, visited 60 countries, and started International Bee Research Association and two Research Journals.
Eva Crane (12 June 1912 6 September 2007)

Tammy Horn
Ph.D. Modernism, 1997. NEH Chair of Appalachian Studies at Berea College.

Grandfather got her into beekeeping.

Origins of Bees
Paleozoic Era First (wingless) insects
Permian, First Reptiles, many insects, beetles

Jurassic, First Mammals Cretaceous, insects feeding on flowers, wasps, bees, social bees AND first birds

Cenozoic First Honey Bees and Bumble Bees, and Primates,

1993, fossil honey bee dated 50M years Homo sapiens 250,000 years Earliest rock painting of honey hunting 10,000 years BC

Hunting of Bees and Bee Products

Bees (themselves and their products), Brood (protein), Honey (carbohydrate), Wax (food, waterproofing, art)

Non-Human Bee and Honey Hunters

Birds Bears Skunks Wax Moth Badgers
Honey Badger

Martens Weasels Jackals Tigers

Honey Badger

Rhesus monkeys
Ganges, Apis dorsata, Silt

Langurs Baboons
May carry off

Gorillas (bee and ant nests)

great honey thieves (Sudan)
Male chimpanzee reaching into crevices in granite wall, Robbing combs, tossing to others Use sticks to either pull out brood and comb, or To puncture the comb, so honey runs out, and Use dip-stick to get honey.

Human Honey Hunters & Bee Hives

Honey Hunters
Opportunistic, find bee nests in ground, caves, on rocks, in and on trees.

Honey and Bee Owners, Nest Tenders

Neolithic (Stone Age) period; 10,000 years BC Apis mellifera was kept in built hives as early as 53,000 BC Apis ceranae was kept in China and Vietnam 200 AD Stingless bees Kept in Central America by Mayans, 300BC-300AD.

Honey Hunting

Spain, Mesolithic


Crete, 540 BC

Zeus Fed on Sacred Honey

Honey Hunting
Continues to this Day

Honey Hunting, Malaysia

Tualang tree, Apis dorsata (giant honey bee)

Honey Hunting US
Eastern Woodlots
Honey Trees Brands

Settlers and Comanche


Honey Nests
In Situ

Built Nests

Fire, Grass and Reed Bundles, Smokers, Ropes, Ladders, Hive Tools

Bees as Prognosticators
Bees are Iconic Lauded for Industry, Societies, and a Leader Middle Ages - Calendars Predicted
Famine Disease Prosperity
Based on Numbers of Colonies and Honey Flows

Bees as Prognosticators
Native Americans and Honey Bees
Introduced to Bermuda, 1617 Introduced to Virginia, 1620s Jamestown earthworms and honey bees
National Geographic

Apis mellifera spread westward (600 miles in 14 years) Wisconsin, early 1800s had lots of swarms
Native Americans burning prairies produced lots of tree hollow, 1820s, reports of many bee trees and ladders.

Bees as Prognosticators
Native Americans termed the honey bee
The Englishmans Fly, The White Mans Fly, The Stinging Bee

Henry Wadsworth Longsfellow

Song of Hiawatha describes honey bees as a harbinger of the white man.

Wheresoeer they move, before them

Swarms the stinging fly, the Ahmo, Swarms the bee, the honeymaker;

Wheresoeer they tread, beneath them

Springs a flower unknown among us, Springs the White-mans Foot in blossom.

Honey Bees and War

Offensive and Defensive Uses

~ 1,000 BC, 1,000 of Pompeiis soldiers ate a cache of poisoned honey left by the Heptakomete Army,
Rhododenddrum and Azalea.

~ 946, St Olga, a Slavic, treated 5,000 of her enemies to unlimited amounts of mead at her sons funeral, that had her soldiers slay the inebriated mourners. 1489, the Romans dispatched 10,000 Turks, drunk on mead left behind.

Offensive and Defensive Uses

Meat Seeking Missiles Conrad Berube
Push, Toss, Drop, or Catapult Beehives into Ranks of Soldiers and Fortifications.

Offensive and Defensive Uses

Romans taxed honey in Asia Minor,
Learned NOT to tax honey, and How to Use bees as weapons.

Henry I in 11th century used bees and catapults in the 3rd Crusade. American Civil War
Booby traps, trip wire, and canon, Battle of Antietam
Bloodiest Single Day in American History, 23,000 wounded or killed

Offensive and Defensive Uses

Viet Cong sabotaged nests of Apis dorsata, the giant honey bee, and used against American troops,
Yellow Rain

Bees and Wasps used to clear tunnels. Triv people of Nigeria carried bees in horns with a poison dust,
Efficacy of venom in sting was amplified by the powder.

Offensive and Defensive Uses

Vergil (Roman Poet) stored his valuables in beehives, Mayans arranged mannequins along parapets of city, dressed in armor, with weapons
Heads were gourds filled with wasps, horseflies, and bees.

1933, German Beekeeper tipped over a hive on thieves, effectively marking them, Middle East 2000s, drugs, weapons, hidden in barrels of honey.

Offensive and Defensive Uses

Detection of landmines, explosives, drugs, dead bodies,
UM, MSU, S&K Electronics, AdvR Bozeman. Bees trained to find materials and devices based on scent, Lasers used to map bees as they discover the agent/device of interest.

UM Insect Mapping LIDAR

Confidential, Do not Distribute or Reproduce

LIDAR Instrument Motorized Scanning Head

PC Computer Power Supply


Basic Statistics Appear On Screen for Each Detection (darker square)

Aug 22, 1409

Aug 22, 1530

Data Scans for Buried Materials Test Field, Flat Terrain

Overall Bee Coverage

Each + = 1 Bee

ALL DATES ALL BEES No Filtering for Dwell

Radius = 2

Search Radius 4

History of Bee Biology & Management

Bee Biology & Management

Egyptians recognized virgin queen piping, 2400 BC Veda and Rig-Veda, ~ 1000-1750 BC, India
Describes use of smoke and re-queening.

Romans and Greeks didnt know much of this until 2,000 years later. Oldest surviving documentation is from Aristotle.

Bee Biology & Management

Aristotle (384-322 BC)
Honey is from dew (others said heaven), Flowers capture honey, Bee collect honey, Two kinds of bees Bees put pupae in comb by mouth Honey comb is made from flowers

Aristotles ideas persisted until Galileos Microscope, 1610.

Bee Biology & Management

Compound eye and sting, Hooke and Leeuwenhoek, 1673, Malpighi an tubes (organ of excretion), Malpighi, Italy. Snodgrass, 1920, Standard for Bee Anatomy.

Solons Law, 593-594, BC prohibited siting of hives within 100 yards of anothers, 300 BC, bees known to discharge excrement in flight, 1300 AD, Portugal scientist established foraging area of about 1500 hectares, or about 2.2 km.

Bee Biology & Management

Division of Labor (Work)
Wax obtained from olive trees (early discovery), Butler, 1609, observed pollen and wax, Hunter (Scottish Surgeon), 1792, observed bees forming wax, Francois Huber, 1793, found plates of wax under bees abdominal plates.

Bee Biology & Management

1000 BC, Zenodorus of Sicily proved that for a given circumferences, a regular hexagon has a greater area than a square or equilateral triangle, 500 AD, Pappas commented that bees wisely chose a hexagonal because it held more honey for the same amount of wax as other possible planer shapes.

Bee Biology & Management

Ancient world thought honey was from dew or heaven, Swammerdum, 1670, opinioned that bees transform thin liquid from flowers into a better unified and thicker liquid in the stomach of the bees, Dufour found that bees evaporate water from honey, 1899, and Krathy, 1931, described the invertase enzyme produced by the hypopharyngeal glands.

Bee Biology & Management

Bee Colonies, Brood, and Queens
Ancient world thought bees came from the carcasses of dead oxen (Bugonia or Bougnia) via Spontaneous Generation,
Drone Fly.

The ruler of the colony was a KING, produced from bone marrow. These ideas persisted until the 1700s when Jacob, Schirach, Janscha, and Huber started studying brood, queens, drones, and mating. Drone congregation areas were first described by White in UK, 1779; verified by Cromley, US, 1892. Norman Gary, tethered virgin queen and demonstrated DCAs in 1900s,
Gary is retired from UC Davis, and he now does bee effects for Hollywood.

Bee History, Test

Write a 1-2 paragraph essay on something you find interesting with respect to bee history, And provide appropriate citations.