I have a lot of time for bees. They are cool. They are placid. They make honey. They are slightly ridiculous (seriously, a bumblebee? Ridiculous!). And humans genuinely couldn’t survive without them – seriously. Bees die out; humans starve. So never kill a bee, it’s not cool.
Unless it’s one of the bees in the Vodafone adverts, quite the worst current example of dopey, charmless, deeply unfunny anthropomorphism on TV screens.
If bees were like this we’d squish the fuckers on the windows, spray chemicals on them until they stopped moving and stamp their guts out.
These adverts are awful. So awful they could make me hate bees. Here are a few things that wouldn’t seem so bad if bees were like these Vodafone hymenopteric arseholes:
Deformed wing virus
Deformed wing virus (DWV) is suspected of causing the wing and abdominal deformities often found on adult honeybees in colonies infested with Varroa mites. These symptoms include damaged appendages, particularly stubby, useless wings, shortened, rounded abdomens, miscoloring and paralysis. Symptomatic bees have severely reduced life-span (less than 48 hours usually) and are typically expelled from the hive.
Melissococcus plutonius is a bacterium that infests the mid-gut of an infected bee larva. European foulbrood is less deadly to a colony than American foulbrood. Melissococcus plutonius does not form spores, though it can overwinter on comb. Symptoms include dead and dying larvae which can appear curled upwards, brown or yellow, melted or deflated with tracheal tubes more apparent, and/or dried out and rubbery.
Ascosphaera apis is a fungal disease that infests the gut of the larva. The fungus will compete with the larva for food, ultimately causing it to starve. The fungus will then go on to consume the rest of the larva’s body, causing it to appear white and ‘chalky’.
Nosema apis is a microsporidian that invades the intestinal tracts of adult bees and causes nosema disease, also known as nosemosis. Nosema is also associated with Black queen-cell virus. Nosema is normally only a problem when the bees can not leave the hive to eliminate waste (for example, during an extended cold spell in winter or when the hives are enclosed in a wintering barn). When the bees are unable to void (cleansing flights), they can develop dysentery.
Acarine (Tracheal) mites
Acarapis woodi is a small parasitic mite that infests the airways of the honey bee.
Varroa destructor and Varroa jacobsoni are parasitic mites that feed off the bodily fluids of adult, pupal and larval bees. Varroa mites can be seen with the naked eye as a small red or brown spot on the bee’s thorax. Varroa are carriers for a virus that is particularly damaging to the bees. Bees that are infected with this virus during their development will often have visibly deformed wings.
Chronic Paralysis Virus [CPV]
▪ Syndrome 1 Abnormal trembling of the wings and body. The bees cannot fly and often crawl on the ground and up plant stems. In some cases the crawling bees can be in large numbers (1000+). The bees huddle together on the top of the cluster or on the top bars of the hive. They may have bloated abdomens due to distension of the honey sac. The wings are partially spread or dislocated.
▪ Syndrome 2 Affected bees are able to fly but are almost hairless. They appear dark or black and look smaller. They have a relatively broad abdomen. They are often nibbled by older bees in the colony and this may be the cause of the hairlessness. They are hindered at the entrance to the hive by the guard bees. A few days after infection trembling begins. They then become flightless and soon die.
Deformed Wing Virus (DWV)
As indicated by the name, this virus produces deformed wings. Typically associated with Varroa destructor, it has been suggested as a contributing factor to Colony Collapse Disorder. This deformity can clearly be seen on the honeybee’s wings. As a result, bees are unable to leave the hive and forage for pollen and nectar, possibly leading to the colony starving.
Dysentery is a condition resulting from a combination of long periods of inability to make cleansing flights (generally due to cold weather) and food stores which contain a high proportion of indigestible matter. As a bee’s gut becomes engorged with feces that cannot be voided in flight as preferred by the bees, the bee voids within the hive. When enough bees do this the hive population rapidly collapses and death of the colony results.
Colony Collapse Disorder
Colony Collapse Disorder (or CCD) is a little-understood phenomenon in which worker bees from a beehive or Western honey bee colony abruptly disappear.
All bee info from Wikipedia