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Honey, Bees are Amazing!

Honeybees are endlessly fascinating. Beyond what we discover ourselves while working with them, what we learn from them and what we learn about them helps inform what we understand about this planet we call home.

Did you know that scientists around the world are studying honeybees as a means to improve and develop non-bee related matters? For instance, researchers from Stockholm University and Wagenigen University in the Netherlands are studying how bees visually approach a vertical landing surface while in flight to help develop robotic flying apparatuses that simulate their technique. Scientists in Germany are studying how bees choose which flowers to select for nectar and pollen, and they theorize that depending on the location, the size of the colony, as well as what season it is, their choices are coded into their DNA. Another study in China is trying to learn how the gut bacteria in autistic children affects honeybee memory, and therefore our own. And engineers are using honey to create a computer chip that mimics the human brain as well.

Lest you think that all honeybee research is geared toward non-apiary interests, that's not the case at all. There is plenty of study underway to assess the health of bees and colonies. Scientists in the UK are investigating how a gentle tap on the side of a hive can give clues to the health of the colony inside. Others are unearthing indicators as to why CCD (colony collapse disorder) seems to be waning. In fact, scientists are discovering that colonies are more plentiful than previously thought, but they're wild colonies and not human-managed ones.

So the next time you're in your hives, think about how very incredible and necessary bees are to our world, and what we can learn from them. The list is long, and you're doing research every time you get into your bees!

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