Friday, May 2, 2014

Thirst

The temperature is soaring in Delhi.  It's less than a month since we, Delhiites, cleaned our woolens and shoved them into the remote parts of the almirah and pulled out the cotton linen for the summer.  The temperature rises at the rate of one degree Celsius per day.  The very air outside scorches your skin.

It was not surprising to see honey bees trying to suck water at the taps outside the school's dining hall this morning.  The bees were not worried about the boys coming to wash their hands.  They flew away letting the boys wash and came back as soon as the boys were away.

I became curious about the honey bees' requirement of water. A simple Google search gave me the following information: [courtesy: http://www.glenn-apiaries.com/bee_photos_10.html]


Honey bees collect four substances, nectar to turn into honey for their food source, pollen as a protein source to rear the baby bees, propolis to seal crevices and coat the inside of the hive with an antimicorobrial coating, and water to mix with the baby bees' food and also to cool the hive.

A clean supply of water is absolutely essential for the operation of a honeybee colony. Bees use water for cooling the hive by evaporation, and for thinning honey to be fed to larva. Bees collecting water is almost as common a sight as bees on flowers. A strong hive on a hot day can use over a quart of water a day, this occupies 800 workers each making up to 50 trips to the water hole a day.

Human beings encroached into the realms of animals far beyond the desirable limits. Are they coming back to recapture their rightful areas?

26 comments:

  1. I leave some water for birds in an earthen pot but never gave a thought to the bees!

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    Replies
    1. This is the first time that I saw bees haunting water taps.

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  2. Replies
    1. As we keep on creating a hotter and drier and more polluted world, there will be more 'firsts' coming, Maniparna.

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  3. Even I didn't know about this. Temperature's soaring high in Durgapur as well. It's around 43 degree Celsius here. That last line of this article might be true and who knows what we would get to see in the future!

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    1. Yes, Namrata, we may have a bizarre future ahead, who knows!

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  4. Replies
    1. We will keep learning, Pankti. Probably, as we go ahead Nature will have much to teach us.

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  5. Learnt about a new face of nature, today. :)

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  6. That's a wonderful research! It means, we won't be having honey of good quality in future due to scarcity of water!

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    1. But, as I understand, honey bees won't take dirty water. Will they choose to die rather than take dirty water? I can't answer that.

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    2. No, I did not mean dirty water, sir. I meant that scarcity of water may lead honey bees to maintain their hives poorly.

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    3. Yeah, M. But who will survive in the long run? Bees or man?

      You know, I'm foreseeing a time when animals will take over the planet. H G Wells envisaged it a century back in his novel, Time Machine.

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    4. In a lighter vein, may I say men will become animals?.......:)

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  7. Yes, this is happening in our terrace pipe too. Few of them are always there. Now after a few weeks I see a big beehive in the neighbour's tree.( a few feet away) Leaky taps do help . They dont sting , even when we open the tap . They wait and come back!

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    1. Exactly, Pattu, even I was surprised that when the students opened the tap the bees didn't attack them, they just flew away only to come back a little later.

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  8. What a shameful crime on our part! The unmindful human progress(?) and so called development is causing irreparable loss to nature:(

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    1. It is indeed a serious affair, Amit. We have done a lot of damage to Nature, some of which are irreparable. I'm sure Nature will come back to haunt us in many ways.

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  9. Great observation, I have seen some of them landing in my water pools.

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    1. Delhi offers very little by way of nature...

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  10. that is some cool info... though i don't think those bees could threaten humanity.. they will probably just die... which is also sad...

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    1. They will die, Nir. Yes, that's the sad fact. I saw them dying under those water taps. I've been watching them.

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