Buzz On, Buddy

Science nerd that I am, I was fascinated by this recent article in The Atlantic, entitled A Celestial Event Left Bees Speechless. It discussed an experiment that was conducted in the path of the totality of the last complete solar eclipse in the US, in August, 2017. 400 volunteers placed tiny microphones to record the sounds, or lack thereof, of insects during the event.

All the insects in the area were going about their business right before the eclipse, but during it, with the exception of one solitary bee, all the rest fell silent.

I want to know more about that solitary bee. What was up with that guy? Why didn’t he shut up like all his friends? What was he thinking? Was he blind? If so, he’d have heard everyone else get quiet. He’d have had to have been blind and deaf. But if so, I can’t imagine he’d survive for long. Maybe he was super focused on the task at hand. Or he was having too much fun. Maybe he had been pollinating poppies.

Or maybe he’s just the world’s dumbest bee. But what are the odds that the world’s dumbest bee would cross paths with a volunteer right at the moment of the eclipse? I mean, I hope that person bought a lottery ticket.

Unfortunately that bee will never get to tell his story, because the average drone only lives for about 6 weeks. So this bee, who clearly buzzed to the beat of a different drummer, is history. That kind of makes me sad.

Rest in peace, rebel bee.

Bee

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2 thoughts on “Buzz On, Buddy

  1. Angiportus

    Maybe that bee was the 1st to get a phone, and was telling distant friends of the odd conditions.
    I was under the impression that male bees don’t do anything but hang around and wait for the day of chasing the queen, but I am not sure. Pollination is done by sterile females, I think.
    The eclipse was memorable even at “only” 93%. I noticed a change in the light quality when it was about half covered, and the tiny crescents made by the trees were “wild”.

    1. I didn’t get to see the totality either, but It was still amazing! And from wikipedia; “A drone is a male bee.Unlike the female worker bee, drones do not have stingers and gather neither nectar nor pollen. A drone’s primary role is to mate with an unfertilized queen. ” So you’re right. Thanks!

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