Bee

Bees are flying insects closely related to wasps and ants, known for their role in pollination and, in the case of the best-known bee species, the western honey bee, for producing honey and beeswax. Bees are a monophyletic lineage within the superfamily Apoidea and are presently considered a clade, called Anthophila. There are over 16,000 known species of bees in seven recognized biological families.[1][2] They are found on every continent except Antarctica, in every habitat on the planet that contains insect-pollinated flowering plants.

Some species including honey bees, bumblebees, and stingless bees live socially in colonies. Bees are adapted for feeding on nectar and pollen, the former primarily as an energy source and the latter primarily for protein and other nutrients. Most pollen is used as food for larvae. Bee pollination is important both ecologically and commercially. The decline in wild bees has increased the value of pollination by commercially managed hives of honey bees.

Bees range in size from tiny stingless bee species whose workers are less than 2 millimetres (0.08 in) long, to Megachile pluto, the largest species of leafcutter bee, whose females can attain a length of 39 millimetres (1.54 in). The most common bees in the Northern Hemisphere are the Halictidae, or sweat bees, but they are small and often mistaken for wasps or flies. Vertebrate predators of bees include birds such as bee-eaters; insect predators include beewolves and dragonflies.

Human beekeeping or apiculture has been practised for millennia, since at least the times of Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece. Apart from honey and pollination, honey bees produce beeswax, royal jelly and propolis. Bees have appeared in mythology and folklore, through all phases of art and literature, from ancient times to the present day, though primarily focused in the Northern Hemisphere, where beekeeping is far more common.

The analysis of 353 wild bee and hoverfly species across Britain from 1980 to 2013 found the insects have been lost from a quarter of the places they were found in 1980.[3]

Bee
Temporal range: Early Cretaceous – Present, 100–0 Ma
Tetragonula carbonaria (14521993792)
The sugarbag bee, Tetragonula carbonaria
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Euarthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
(unranked): Unicalcarida
Suborder: Apocrita
Superfamily: Apoidea
Clade: Anthophila
Families
Synonyms

Evolution

Melittosphex burmensis
Melittosphex burmensis, a fossil bee preserved in amber from the Early Cretaceous of Myanmar

The ancestors of bees were wasps in the family Crabronidae, which were predators of other insects. The switch from insect prey to pollen may have resulted from the consumption of prey insects which were flower visitors and were partially covered with pollen when they were fed to the wasp larvae. This same evolutionary scenario may have occurred within the vespoid wasps, where the pollen wasps evolved from predatory ancestors. Until recently, the oldest non-compression bee fossil had been found in New Jersey amber, Cretotrigona prisca of Cretaceous age, a corbiculate bee.[4] A bee fossil from the early Cretaceous (~100 mya), Melittosphex burmensis, is considered "an extinct lineage of pollen-collecting Apoidea sister to the modern bees".[5] Derived features of its morphology (apomorphies) place it clearly within the bees, but it retains two unmodified ancestral traits (plesiomorphies) of the legs (two mid-tibial spurs, and a slender hind basitarsus), showing its transitional status.[5] By the Eocene (~45 mya) there was already considerable diversity among eusocial bee lineages.[6][a]

The highly eusocial corbiculate Apidae appeared roughly 87 Mya, and the Allodapini (within the Apidae) around 53 Mya.[9] The Colletidae appear as fossils only from the late Oligocene (~25 Mya) to early Miocene.[10] The Melittidae are known from Palaeomacropis eocenicus in the Early Eocene.[11] The Megachilidae are known from trace fossils (characteristic leaf cuttings) from the Middle Eocene.[12] The Andrenidae are known from the Eocene-Oligocene boundary, around 34 Mya, of the Florissant shale.[13] The Halictidae first appear in the Early Eocene[14] with species[15][16] found in amber. The Stenotritidae are known from fossil brood cells of Pleistocene age.[17]

Coevolution

Amegilla cingulata on long tube of Acanthus ilicifolius flower
Long-tongued bees and long-tubed flowers coevolved, like this Amegilla cingulata (Apidae) on Acanthus ilicifolius.

The earliest animal-pollinated flowers were shallow, cup-shaped blooms pollinated by insects such as beetles, so the syndrome of insect pollination was well established before the first appearance of bees. The novelty is that bees are specialized as pollination agents, with behavioral and physical modifications that specifically enhance pollination, and are the most efficient pollinating insects. In a process of coevolution, flowers developed floral rewards[18] such as nectar and longer tubes, and bees developed longer tongues to extract the nectar.[19] Bees also developed structures known as scopal hairs and pollen baskets to collect and carry pollen. The location and type differ among and between groups of bees. Most bees have scopal hairs located on their hind legs or on the underside of their abdomens, some bees in the family Apidae possess pollen baskets on their hind legs while very few species lack these entirely and instead collect pollen in their crops.[2] This drove the adaptive radiation of the angiosperms, and, in turn, the bees themselves.[7] Bees have not only coevolved with flowers but it is believed that some bees have coevolved with mites. Some bees provide tufts of hairs called acarinaria that appear to provide lodgings for mites; in return, it is believed that the mites eat fungi that attack pollen, so the relationship in this case may be mutualistc.[20][21]

Phylogeny

External

This phylogenetic tree is based on Debevic et al, 2012, which used molecular phylogeny to demonstrate that the bees (Anthophila) arose from deep within the Crabronidae, which is therefore paraphyletic. The placement of the Heterogynaidae is uncertain.[22] The small subfamily Mellininae was not included in their analysis.

Apoidea

Ampulicidae (Cockroach wasps) Emerald Cockroach Wasp

Heterogynaidae (possible placement #1)

Sphecidae (sensu stricto) Sceliphron spirifex TZ edit1

Crabroninae (part of "Crabronidae") Ectemnius.lapidarius.-.lindsey

(rest of "Crabronidae")

Bembicini Bembix sp2

Nyssonini, Astatinae Astata boops a1

Heterogynaidae (possible placement #2)

Pemphredoninae, Philanthinae P. gibbosus57306787w

Anthophila (bees) Abeille butineuse et son pollen

Internal

This cladogram of the bee families is based on Hedtke et al., 2013, which places the former families Dasypodaidae and Meganomiidae as subfamilies inside the Melittidae.[23] English names, where available, are given in parentheses.

Anthophila (bees)

Melittidae (inc. Dasypodainae, Meganomiinae) at least 50 Mya Macropis sp 01

long-tongued bees

Apidae (social, inc. honeybees) ≈87 Mya Apis mellifera flying2

Megachilidae (mason, leafcutter bees) ≈50 Mya Leafcutter bee (Megachile sp.) collecting leaves (7519316920)

short-tongued bees

Andrenidae (mining bees) ≈34 Mya Thomas Bresson - Hyménoptère sur une fleur de pissenlit (by)

Halictidae (sweat bees) ≈50 Mya Iridescent.green.sweat.bee1

Colletidae (plasterer bees) ≈25 Mya Colletes cunicularius m1

Stenotritidae (large Australian bees) ≈2 Mya Stenotritus pubescens, f, side, australia 2014-07-05-12.18.33 ZS PMax

Description

European Honeybee (Apis mellifera) lapping mouthparts, showing labium and maxillae.
The lapping mouthparts of a honey bee, showing labium and maxillae

Bees are generally easy to recognize. They differ from closely related groups such as wasps by having branched or plume-like setae (hairs), combs on the forelimbs for cleaning their antennae, small anatomical differences in the limb structure and the venation of the hind wings, and in females, by having the seventh dorsal abdominal plate divided into two half-plates.[24]

Behaviourally, one of the most obvious characteristics of bees is that they collect pollen to provide provisions for their young, and have the necessary adaptations to do this. However, certain wasp species such as pollen wasps have similar behaviours, and a few species of bee scavenge from carcases to feed their offspring.[24] The world's largest species of bee is thought to be Wallace's giant bee Megachile pluto, whose females can attain a length of 39 millimetres (1.54 in).[25] The smallest species may be dwarf stingless bees in the tribe Meliponini whose workers are less than 2 millimetres (0.08 in) in length.[26]

Carpenter bee head and compound eyes
Head-on view of a carpenter bee, showing antennae, three ocelli, compound eyes, sensory bristles and mouthparts

A bee has a pair of large compound eyes which cover much of the surface of the head. Between and above these are three small simple eyes (ocelli) which provide information for the bee on light intensity. The antennae usually have thirteen segments in males and twelve in females and are geniculate, having an elbow joint part way along. They house large numbers of sense organs that can detect touch (mechanoreceptors), smell and taste, and small, hairlike mechanoreceptors that can detect air movement so as to "hear" sounds. The mouthparts are adapted for both chewing and sucking by having both a pair of mandibles and a long proboscis for sucking up nectar.[27]

The thorax has three segments, each with a pair of robust legs, and a pair of membranous wings on the hind two segments. The front legs of corbiculate bees bear combs for cleaning the antennae, and in many species the hind legs bear pollen baskets, flattened sections with incurving hairs to secure the collected pollen. The wings are synchronised in flight and the somewhat smaller hind wings connect to the forewings by a row of hooks along their margin which connect to a groove in the forewing. The abdomen has nine segments, the hindermost three being modified into the sting.[27]

Sociality

Haplodiploid breeding system

Wasp attack
Willing to die for their sisters: worker honey bees killed defending their hive against wasps, along with a dead wasp. Such altruistic behaviour may be favoured by the haplodiploid sex determination system of bees.

According to inclusive fitness theory, organisms can gain fitness not just through increasing their own reproductive output, but also that of close relatives. In evolutionary terms, individuals should help relatives when Cost < Relatedness * Benefit. The requirements for eusociality are more easily fulfilled by haplodiploid species such as bees because of their unusual relatedness structure.[28] In haplodiploid species, females develop from fertilized eggs and males from unfertilized eggs. Because a male is haploid (has only one copy of each gene), his daughters (which are diploid, with two copies of each gene) share 100% of his genes and 50% of their mother's. Therefore, they share 75% of their genes with each other. This mechanism of sex determination gives rise to what W. D. Hamilton termed "supersisters", more closely related to their sisters than they would be to their own offspring.[29] Workers often do not reproduce, but they can pass on more of their genes by helping to raise their sisters (as queens) than they would by having their own offspring (each of which would only have 50% of their genes), assuming they would produce similar numbers. This unusual situation has been proposed as an explanation of the multiple independent evolutions of eusociality (arising at least nine separate times) within the Hymenoptera.[30][31] However, some eusocial species such as termites are not haplodiploid. Conversely, all bees are haplodiploid but not all are eusocial, and among eusocial species many queens mate with multiple males, creating half-sisters that share only 25% of their genes.[32] Haplodiploidy is thus neither necessary nor sufficient for eusociality. But, monogamy (queens mating singly) is the ancestral state for all eusocial species so far investigated, so it is likely that haplodiploidy contributed to the evolution of eusociality in bees.[30]

Eusociality

Bee swarm on fallen tree03
A honey bee swarm

Bees may be solitary or may live in various types of communities. Eusociality appears to have originated from at least three independent origins in halictid bees.[33] The most advanced of these are species with eusocial colonies; these are characterised by having cooperative brood care and a division of labour into reproductive and non-reproductive adults, plus overlapping generations.[34] This division of labour creates specialized groups within eusocial societies which are called castes. In some species, groups of cohabiting females may be sisters, and if there is a division of labour within the group, they are considered semisocial. The group is called eusocial if, in addition, the group consists of a mother (the queen) and her daughters (workers). When the castes are purely behavioural alternatives, with no morphological differentiation other than size, the system is considered primitively eusocial, as in many paper wasps; when the castes are morphologically discrete, the system is considered highly eusocial.[19]

The true honey bees (genus Apis, of which there are seven currently-recognized species) are highly eusocial, and are among the best known of all insects. Their colonies are established by swarms, consisting of a queen and several hundred workers. There are 29 subspecies of one of these species, Apis mellifera, native to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Africanized bees are a hybrid strain of A. mellifera that escaped from experiments involving crossing European and African subspecies; they are extremely defensive.[35]

Stingless bees are also highly eusocial. They practise mass provisioning, with complex nest architecture and perennial colonies also established via swarming.[36]

Bumblebee 05
A bumblebee carrying pollen in its pollen baskets (corbiculae)

Many bumblebees are eusocial, similar to the eusocial Vespidae such as hornets in that the queen initiates a nest on her own rather than by swarming. Bumblebee colonies typically have from 50 to 200 bees at peak population, which occurs in mid to late summer. Nest architecture is simple, limited by the size of the pre-existing nest cavity, and colonies rarely last more than a year.[37] In 2011, the International Union for Conservation of Nature set up the Bumblebee Specialist Group to review the threat status of all bumblebee species worldwide using the IUCN Red List criteria.[38]

There are many more species of primitively eusocial than highly eusocial bees, but they have been studied less often. Most are in the family Halictidae, or "sweat bees". Colonies are typically small, with a dozen or fewer workers, on average. Queens and workers differ only in size, if at all. Most species have a single season colony cycle, even in the tropics, and only mated females hibernate. A few species have long active seasons and attain colony sizes in the hundreds, such as Halictus hesperus.[39] Some species are eusocial in parts of their range and solitary in others,[40] or have a mix of eusocial and solitary nests in the same population.[41] The orchid bees (Apidae) include some primitively eusocial species with similar biology. Some allodapine bees (Apidae) form primitively eusocial colonies, with progressive provisioning: a larva's food is supplied gradually as it develops, as is the case in honey bees and some bumblebees.[42]

Solitary and communal bees

Megachile rotundata
A leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata cutting circles from acacia leaves

Most other bees, including familiar insects such as carpenter bees, leafcutter bees and mason bees are solitary in the sense that every female is fertile, and typically inhabits a nest she constructs herself. There is no division of labor so these nests lack queens and worker bees for these species. Solitary bees typically produce neither honey nor beeswax.[43]

Solitary bees are important pollinators; they gather pollen to provision their nests with food for their brood. Often it is mixed with nectar to form a paste-like consistency. Some solitary bees have advanced types of pollen-carrying structures on their bodies. A very few species of solitary bees are being cultured for commercial pollination. Most of these species belong to a distinct set of genera which are commonly known by their nesting behavior or preferences, namely: carpenter bees, sweat bees, mason bees, plasterer bees, squash bees, dwarf carpenter bees, leafcutter bees, alkali bees and digger bees.[44]

Anthidium February 2008-1
A solitary bee, Anthidium florentinum (family Megachilidae), visiting Lantana
Osmia cornifrons.5.1.08.w
The mason bee Osmia cornifrons nests in a hole in dead wood. Bee "hotels" are often sold for this purpose.

Most solitary bees nest in the ground in a variety of soil textures and conditions while others create nests in hollow reeds or twigs, holes in wood. The female typically creates a compartment (a "cell") with an egg and some provisions for the resulting larva, then seals it off. A nest may consist of numerous cells. When the nest is in wood, usually the last (those closer to the entrance) contain eggs that will become males. The adult does not provide care for the brood once the egg is laid, and usually dies after making one or more nests. The males typically emerge first and are ready for mating when the females emerge. Solitary bees are either stingless or very unlikely to sting (only in self-defense, if ever).[45][46]

While solitary, females each make individual nests. Some species, such as the European mason bee Hoplitis anthocopoides,[47] and the Dawson's Burrowing bee, Amegilla dawsoni,[48] are gregarious, preferring to make nests near others of the same species, and giving the appearance of being social. Large groups of solitary bee nests are called aggregations, to distinguish them from colonies. In some species, multiple females share a common nest, but each makes and provisions her own cells independently. This type of group is called "communal" and is not uncommon. The primary advantage appears to be that a nest entrance is easier to defend from predators and parasites when there are multiple females using that same entrance on a regular basis.[47]

Biology

Apoidea
Nest of the common carder bumblebee. The wax canopy has been removed to show winged workers and pupae in irregularly placed wax cells.

Life cycle

Carpenter Bee Galleries.jpeg
Carpenter bee nests in a cedar wood beam (sawn open)

The life cycle of a bee, be it a solitary or social species, involves the laying of an egg, the development through several moults of a legless larva, a pupation stage during which the insect undergoes complete metamorphosis, followed by the emergence of a winged adult. Most solitary bees and bumble bees in temperate climates overwinter as adults or pupae and emerge in spring when increasing numbers of flowering plants come into bloom. The males usually emerge first and search for females with which to mate. The sex of a bee is determined by whether or not the egg is fertilised; after mating, a female stores the sperm, and determines which sex is required at the time each individual egg is laid, fertilised eggs producing female offspring and unfertilised eggs, males. Tropical bees may have several generations in a year and no diapause stage.[49][50][51][52]

Bienen mit Brut 2
Honeybees on brood comb with eggs and larvae in cells

The egg is generally oblong, slightly curved and tapering at one end. In the case of solitary bees, each one is laid in a cell with a supply of mixed pollen and nectar next to it. This may be rolled into a pellet or placed in a pile and is known as mass provisioning. In social species of bee there is progressive provisioning with the larva being fed regularly while it grows. The nest varies from a hole in the ground or in wood, in solitary bees, to a substantial structure with wax combs in bumblebees and honey bees.[53]

The larvae are generally whitish grubs, roughly oval and bluntly-pointed at both ends. They have fifteen segments and spiracles in each segment for breathing. They have no legs but are able to move within the confines of the cell, helped by tubercles on their sides. They have short horns on the head, jaws for chewing their food and an appendage on either side of the mouth tipped with a bristle. There is a gland under the mouth that secretes a viscous liquid which solidifies into the silk they use to produce their cocoons. The pupa can be seen through the semi-transparent cocoon and over the course of a few days, the insect undergoes metamorphosis into the form of the adult bee. When ready to emerge, it splits its skin dorsally and climbs out of the exuviae as a winged adult and breaks out of the cell.[53]

Flight

Apis mellifera flying
Honeybee in flight carrying pollen in pollen basket

In Antoine Magnan's 1934 book Le vol des insectes, he wrote that he and André Sainte-Laguë had applied the equations of air resistance to insects and found that their flight could not be explained by fixed-wing calculations, but that "One shouldn't be surprised that the results of the calculations don't square with reality".[54] This has led to a common misconception that bees "violate aerodynamic theory", but in fact it merely confirms that bees do not engage in fixed-wing flight, and that their flight is explained by other mechanics, such as those used by helicopters.[55] In 1996 it was shown that vortices created by many insects' wings helped to provide lift.[56] High-speed cinematography[57] and robotic mock-up of a bee wing[58] showed that lift was generated by "the unconventional combination of short, choppy wing strokes, a rapid rotation of the wing as it flops over and reverses direction, and a very fast wing-beat frequency". Wing-beat frequency normally increases as size decreases, but as the bee's wing beat covers such a small arc, it flaps approximately 230 times per second, faster than a fruitfly (200 times per second) which is 80 times smaller.[59]

Navigation, communication, and finding food

Bee dance
Karl von Frisch (1953) discovered that honey bee workers can navigate, indicating the range and direction to food to other workers with a waggle dance.

The ethologist Karl von Frisch studied navigation in the honey bee. He showed that honey bees communicate by the waggle dance, in which a worker indicates the location of a food source to other workers in the hive. He demonstrated that bees can recognize a desired compass direction in three different ways: by the sun, by the polarization pattern of the blue sky, and by the earth's magnetic field. He showed that the sun is the preferred or main compass; the other mechanisms are used under cloudy skies or inside a dark beehive.[60] Bees navigate using spatial memory with a "rich, map-like organization".[61]

Ecology

Floral relationships

Most bees are polylectic (generalist) meaning they collect pollen from a range of flowering plants, however, some are oligoleges (specialists), in that they only gather pollen from one or a few species or genera of closely related plants.[62] Specialist pollinators also include bee species which gather floral oils instead of pollen, and male orchid bees, which gather aromatic compounds from orchids (one of the few cases where male bees are effective pollinators). Bees are able to sense the presence of desirable flowers through ultraviolet patterning on flowers, floral odors,[63] and even electromagnetic fields.[64] Once landed, a bee then uses nectar quality[63] and pollen taste[65] to determine whether to continue visiting similar flowers.

In rare cases, a plant species may only be effectively pollinated by a single bee species, and some plants are endangered at least in part because their pollinator is also threatened. There is, however, a pronounced tendency for oligolectic bees to be associated with common, widespread plants which are visited by multiple pollinators. There are some forty oligoleges associated with the creosote bush in the arid parts of the United States southwest, for example.[66]

As mimics and models

Bombylius major on flower
The bee-fly Bombylius major, a Batesian mimic of bees, taking nectar and pollinating a flower.
Ophrys apifera flower1
Bee orchid lures male bees to attempt to mate with the flower's lip, which resembles a bee perched on a pink flower.

Many bees are aposematically coloured, typically orange and black, warning of their ability to defend themselves with a powerful sting. As such they are models for Batesian mimicry by non-stinging insects such as bee-flies, robber flies and hoverflies,[67] all of which gain a measure of protection by superficially looking and behaving like bees.[67]

Bees are themselves Müllerian mimics of other aposematic insects with the same colour scheme, including wasps, lycid and other beetles, and many butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera) which are themselves distasteful, often through acquiring bitter and poisonous chemicals from their plant food. All the Müllerian mimics, including bees, benefit from the reduced risk of predation that results from their easily recognised warning coloration.[68]

Bees are also mimicked by plants such as the bee orchid which imitates both the appearance and the scent of a female bee; male bees attempt to mate (pseudocopulation) with the furry lip of the flower, thus pollinating it.[69]

As brood parasites

Brood parasites occur in several bee families including the apid subfamily Nomadinae.[70] Females of these bees lack pollen collecting structures (the scopa) and do not construct their own nests. They typically enter the nests of pollen collecting species, and lay their eggs in cells provisioned by the host bee. When the cuckoo bee larva hatches it consumes the host larva's pollen ball, and often the host egg also.[71] The Arctic bee species, Bombus hyperboreus, in particular are an aggressive species that attack and enslave other bees of the same subgenus. However, unlike many other bee brood parasites, they have pollen baskets and often collect pollen.[72]

In the south of Africa, hives of African honeybees (A. mellifera scutellata) are being destroyed by parasitic workers of the Cape honeybee, A. m. capensis. These lay diploid eggs ("thelytoky"), escaping normal worker policing, leading to the colony's destruction; the parasites can then move to other hives.[73]

The cuckoo bees in the Bombus subgenus Psithyrus are closely related to, and resemble, their hosts in looks and size. This common pattern gave rise to the ecological principle "Emery's rule". Others parasitize bees in different families, like Townsendiella, a nomadine apid, two species of which are cleptoparasites of the dasypodaid genus Hesperapis,[74] while the other species in the same genus attacks halictid bees.[75]

Nocturnal bees

Four bee families (Andrenidae, Colletidae, Halictidae, and Apidae) contain some species that are crepuscular. Most are tropical or subtropical, but there are some which live in arid regions at higher latitudes. These bees have greatly enlarged ocelli, which are extremely sensitive to light and dark, though incapable of forming images. Some have refracting superposition compound eyes: these combine the output of many elements of their compound eyes to provide enough light for each retinal photoreceptor. Their ability to fly by night enables them to avoid many predators, and to exploit flowers that produce nectar only or also at night.[76]

Predators, parasites and pathogens

Pair of Merops apiaster feeding detail
The bee-eater, Merops apiaster, specialises in feeding on bees; here a male catches a nuptial gift for his mate.

Vertebrate predators of bees include bee-eaters, shrikes and flycatchers, which make short sallies to catch insects in flight.[77] Swifts and swallows[77] fly almost continually, catching insects as they go. The honey buzzard attacks bees' nests and eats the larvae.[78] The greater honeyguide interacts with humans by guiding them to the nests of wild bees. The humans break open the nests and take the honey and the bird feeds on the larvae and the wax.[79] Among mammals, predators such as the badger dig up bumblebee nests and eat both the larvae and any stored food.[80]

Wasp and bee August 2008-2
The beewolf Philanthus triangulum paralysing a bee with its sting

Specialist ambush predators of visitors to flowers include crab spiders, which wait on flowering plants for pollinating insects; predatory bugs, and praying mantises,[77] some of which (the flower mantises of the tropics) wait motionless, aggressive mimics camouflaged as flowers.[81] Beewolves are large wasps that habitually attack bees;[77] the ethologist Niko Tinbergen estimated that a single colony of the beewolf Philanthus triangulum might kill several thousand honeybees in a day: all the prey he observed were honeybees.[82] Other predatory insects that sometimes catch bees include robber flies and dragonflies.[77] Honey bees are affected by parasites including acarine and Varroa mites.[83] However, some bees are believed to have a mutualistic relationship with mites.[21]

Bees and humans

In mythology and folklore

Plaque bee-goddess BM GR1860.4-123.4
Gold plaques embossed with winged bee goddesses. Camiros, Rhodes. 7th century B.C.

Three bee maidens with the power of divination and thus speaking truth are described in Homer's Hymn to Hermes, and the food of the gods is "identified as honey"; the bee maidens were originally associated with Apollo, and are probably not correctly identified with the Thriae.[84] Honey, according to a Greek myth, was discovered by a nymph called Melissa ("Bee"); and honey was offered to the Greek gods from Mycenean times. Bees were associated, too, with the Delphic oracle and the prophetess was sometimes called a bee.[85]

The image of a community of honey bees has been used from ancient to modern times, in Aristotle and Plato; in Virgil and Seneca; in Erasmus and Shakespeare; Tolstoy, and by political and social theorists such as Bernard Mandeville and Karl Marx as a model for human society.[86] In English folklore, bees would be told of important events in the household, in a custom known as "Telling the bees".[87]

In art and literature

Mrs tittlemouse
Beatrix Potter's illustration of Babbity Bumble in The Tale of Mrs Tittlemouse, 1910

Some of the oldest examples of bees in art are rock paintings in Spain which have been dated to 15,000 BC.[88]

W. B. Yeats's poem The Lake Isle of Innisfree (1888) contains the couplet "Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee, / And live alone in the bee loud glade." At the time he was living in Bedford Park in the West of London.[89] Beatrix Potter's illustrated book The Tale of Mrs Tittlemouse (1910) features Babbity Bumble and her brood (pictured). Kit Williams' treasure hunt book The Bee on the Comb (1984) uses bees and beekeeping as part of its story and puzzle. Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees (2004), and the 2009 film starring Dakota Fanning, tells the story of a girl who escapes her abusive home and finds her way to live with a family of beekeepers, the Boatwrights.

The humorous 2007 animated film Bee Movie used Jerry Seinfeld's first script and was his first work for children; he starred as a bee named Barry B. Benson, alongside Renée Zellweger. Critics found its premise awkward and its delivery tame.[90] Dave Goulson's A Sting in the Tale (2014) describes his efforts to save bumblebees in Britain, as well as much about their biology. The playwright Laline Paull's fantasy The Bees (2015) tells the tale of a hive bee named Flora 717 from hatching onwards.[91]

Beekeeping

Beekeeper
A commercial beekeeper at work

Humans have kept honey bee colonies, commonly in hives, for millennia. Beekeepers collect honey, beeswax, propolis, pollen, and royal jelly from hives; bees are also kept to pollinate crops and to produce bees for sale to other beekeepers.

Depictions of humans collecting honey from wild bees date to 15,000 years ago; efforts to domesticate them are shown in Egyptian art around 4,500 years ago.[92] Simple hives and smoke were used;[93][94] jars of honey were found in the tombs of pharaohs such as Tutankhamun. From the 18th century, European understanding of the colonies and biology of bees allowed the construction of the moveable comb hive so that honey could be harvested without destroying the colony.[95][96] Among Classical Era authors, beekeeping with the use of smoke is described in the History of Animals Book 9.[97] The account mentions that bees die after stinging; that workers remove corpses from the hive, and guard it; castes including workers and non-working drones, but "kings" rather than queens; predators including toads and bee-eaters; and the waggle dance, with the "irresistible suggestion" of άpοσειονται (aroseiontai, it waggles) and παρακολουθούσιν (parakolouthousin, they watch).[98][b]

Beekeeping is described in detail by Virgil in his Eclogues; it is also mentioned in his Aeneid, and in Pliny's Natural History.[98]

As commercial pollinators

Peponapis pruinosaCane-12
Squash bees (Apidae) are important pollinators of squashes and cucumbers.

Bees play an important role in pollinating flowering plants, and are the major type of pollinator in many ecosystems that contain flowering plants. It is estimated that one third of the human food supply depends on pollination by insects, birds and bats, most of which is accomplished by bees, whether wild or domesticated.[99][100]

Contract pollination has overtaken the role of honey production for beekeepers in many countries. After the introduction of Varroa mites, feral honey bees declined dramatically in the US, though their numbers have since recovered.[101][102] The number of colonies kept by beekeepers declined slightly, through urbanization, systematic pesticide use, tracheal and Varroa mites, and the closure of beekeeping businesses. In 2006 and 2007 the rate of attrition increased, and was described as colony collapse disorder.[103] In 2010 invertebrate iridescent virus and the fungus Nosema ceranae were shown to be in every killed colony, and deadly in combination.[104][105][106][107] Winter losses increased to about 1/3.[108][109] Varroa mites were thought to be responsible for about half the losses.[110]

Apart from colony collapse disorder, losses outside the US have been attributed to causes including pesticide seed dressings, using neonicotinoids such as Clothianidin, Imidacloprid and Thiamethoxam.[111][112] From 2013 the European Union restricted some pesticides to stop bee populations from declining further.[113] In 2014 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report warned that bees faced increased risk of extinction because of global warming.[114] In 2018 the European Union decided to ban field use of all three major neonicotinoids; they remain permitted in veterinary, greenhouse, and vehicle transport usage.[115]

Farmers have focused on alternative solutions to mitigate these problems. By raising native plants, they provide food for native bee pollinators like Lasioglossum vierecki[116] and L. leucozonium,[117] leading to less reliance on honey bee populations.

As food producers

Honey is a natural product produced by bees and stored for their own use, but its sweetness has always appealed to humans. Before domestication of bees was even attempted, humans were raiding their nests for their honey. Smoke was often used to subdue the bees and such activities are depicted in rock paintings in Spain dated to 15,000 BC.[88]

Honey bees are used commercially to produce honey.[118] They also produce some substances used as dietary supplements with possible health benefits, pollen,[119] propolis,[120] and royal jelly,[121] though all of these can also cause allergic reactions.

As food (bee brood)

Botoktawon
Bee larvae as food in the Javanese dish botok tawon

Bees are partly considered edible insects. Indigenous people in many countries eat insects, including the larvae and pupae of bees, mostly stingless species. They also gather larvae, pupae and surrounding cells, known as bee brood, for consumption.[122] In the Indonesian dish botok tawon from Central and East Java, bee larvae are eaten as a companion to rice, after being mixed with shredded coconut, wrapped in banana leaves, and steamed.[123][124]

Bee brood (pupae and larvae) although low in calcium, has been found to be high in protein and carbohydrate, and a useful source of phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and trace minerals iron, zinc, copper, and selenium. In addition, while bee brood was high in fat, it contained no fat soluble vitamins (such as A, D, and E) but it was a good source of most of the water-soluble B-vitamins including choline as well as vitamin C. The fat was composed mostly of saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids with 2.0% being polyunsaturated fatty acids.[125][126]

As alternative medicine

Apitherapy is a branch of alternative medicine that uses honey bee products, including raw honey, royal jelly, pollen, propolis, beeswax and apitoxin (Bee venom).[127] The claim that apitherapy treats cancer, which some proponents of apitherapy make, remains unsupported by evidence-based medicine.[128][129]

Stings

The painful stings of bees are mostly associated with the poison gland and the Dufour's gland which are abdominal exocrine glands containing various chemicals. In Lasioglossum leucozonium, the Dufour's Gland mostly contains octadecanolide as well as some eicosanolide. There is also evidence of n-triscosane, n-heptacosane,[130] and 22-docosanolide.[131] However, the secretions of these glands could also be used for nest construction.[130]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Triassic nests in a petrified forest in Arizona, implying that bees evolved much earlier,[7] are now thought to be beetle borings.[8]
  2. ^ In D'Arcy Thompson's translation: "At early dawn they make no noise, until some one particular bee makes a buzzing noise two or three times and thereby awakes the rest; hereupon they all fly in a body to work. By and by they return and at first are noisy; ... until at last some one bee flies round about, making a buzzing noise, and apparently calling on the others to go to sleep".[97]

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External links

Africanized bee

The Africanized bee, also known as the Africanised honey bee, and known colloquially as the "killer bee", is a hybrid of the western honey bee species (Apis mellifera), produced originally by cross-breeding of the East African lowland honey bee (A. m. scutellata) with various European honey bees such as the Italian honey bee A. m. ligustica and the Iberian honey bee A. m. iberiensis.

The Africanized honey bee was first introduced to Brazil in 1956 in an effort to increase honey production, but 26 swarms escaped quarantine in 1957. Since then, the hybrid has spread throughout South America and arrived in North America in 1985. Hives were found in South Texas of the United States in 1990.Africanized bees are typically much more defensive than other varieties of honey bee, and react to disturbances faster than European honey bees. They can chase a person a quarter of a mile (400 m); they have killed some 1,000 humans, with victims receiving ten times more stings than from European honey bees. They have also killed horses and other animals.

Barry Gibb

Sir Barry Alan Crompton Gibb, (born 1 September 1946) is an English singer, songwriter, musician and record producer who rose to worldwide fame as a co-founder of the group the Bee Gees, one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed groups in the history of popular music. With his younger brothers, twins Robin and Maurice Gibb, he formed a songwriting partnership beginning in 1966.

Born in Douglas on the Isle of Man, he was raised in Manchester where he became involved in the skiffle craze, forming his first band, the Rattlesnakes, which evolved into the Bee Gees in 1960 after they had moved to Redcliffe, Queensland, Australia. They returned to England where they achieved worldwide fame. Well known for his wide vocal range, Gibb's most notable vocal trait is a far-reaching high-pitched falsetto. Gibb shares the record with John Lennon and Paul McCartney for consecutive Billboard Hot 100 number ones as a writer with six. Guinness World Records lists Gibb as the second most successful songwriter in history behind Paul McCartney.

Gibb's career has spanned over sixty years. In 1994, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame with his brothers. In 1997, as a member of the Bee Gees, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and received the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. Barry is a fellow of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors. In 2007, Q magazine ranked him number 38 on its list of the "100 Greatest Singers".Gibb was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2002 New Year Honours for services to music and entertainment and a Knight Bachelor in the 2018 New Year Honours for services to music and charity.

Bee Gees

The Bee Gees

were a pop music group formed in 1958. Their lineup consisted of brothers Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb. The trio were especially successful as a popular music act in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and later as prominent performers of the disco music era in the mid-to-late 1970s. The group sang recognisable three-part tight harmonies; Robin's clear vibrato lead vocals were a hallmark of their earlier hits, while Barry's R&B falsetto became their signature sound during the mid-to-late 1970s and 1980s. The Bee Gees wrote all of their own hits, as well as writing and producing several major hits for other artists.

Born on the Isle of Man to English parents, the Gibb brothers lived in Chorlton, Manchester, England, until the late 1950s. There, in 1955, they formed the skiffle/rock and roll group the Rattlesnakes. The family then moved to Redcliffe, in the Moreton Bay Region, Queensland, Australia, and then to Cribb Island. After achieving their first chart success in Australia as the Bee Gees with "Spicks and Specks" (their 12th single), they returned to the UK in January 1967, when producer Robert Stigwood began promoting them to a worldwide audience.

The Bee Gees have sold more than 220 million records worldwide, making them one of the world's best-selling artists of all time. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997; the presenter of the award to "Britain's first family of harmony" was Brian Wilson, historical leader of The Beach Boys, another "family act" featuring three harmonising brothers. The Bee Gees' Hall of Fame citation says, "Only Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Michael Jackson, Garth Brooks and Paul McCartney have outsold the Bee Gees."Following Maurice's death in January 2003, at the age of 53, Barry and Robin retired the group's name after 45 years of activity. In 2009, Robin announced that he and Barry had agreed the Bee Gees would re-form and perform again. Robin died in May 2012, aged 62, after a prolonged struggle with cancer and other health problems, leaving Barry as the only surviving member of the group.

Bee Movie

Bee Movie is a 2007 American computer animated comedy film produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by Paramount Pictures. Directed by Simon J. Smith and Steve Hickner, the film stars Jerry Seinfeld and Renée Zellweger, with Matthew Broderick, Patrick Warburton, John Goodman and Chris Rock in supporting roles. Its story follows Barry B. Benson (Seinfeld), a honey bee who sues the human race for exploiting bees after learning from his florist friend Vanessa (Zellweger) that humans sell and consume honey.

Bee Movie is the first motion-picture script to be written by Seinfeld, who co-wrote the film with Spike Feresten, Barry Marder, and Andy Robin. The film was produced by Seinfeld, Christina Steinberg, and Cameron Stevning. The production was designed by Alex McDowell, and Christophe Lautrette was the art director. Nick Fletcher was the supervising editor and music for the film was composed by Rupert Gregson-Williams.

The cast and crew include some veterans of Seinfeld's long-running NBC sitcom Seinfeld, including writer/producers Feresten and Robin, and actors Warburton (Seinfeld character David Puddy), Michael Richards (Seinfeld character Cosmo Kramer), and Larry Miller (who plays the title character on the Seinfeld episode "The Doorman"). Coincidentally, NBC was host to the broadcast television premiere of the film on November 27, 2010, and both NBC and producer DreamWorks would both be acquired by Comcast soon after, NBC in 2011 and DWA in 2016.Bee Movie opened on November 2, 2007. Upon release, the film was met with mixed reviews, with primary criticism directed at the film's premise. While domestic box office performance failed to recoup its $150 million budget, it ultimately saw worldwide box office performance of $287.6 million and domestic video sales of $92.7 million.

Bee sting

A bee sting is a sting from a bee (honey bee, bumblebee, sweat bee, etc.). The stings of most of these species can be quite painful, and are therefore keenly avoided by many people.

Bee stings differ from insect bites, and the venom or toxin of stinging insects is quite different. Therefore, the body's reaction to a bee sting may differ significantly from one species to another. In particular, bee stings are acidic, whereas wasp stings are alkaline, so the body's reaction to a bee sting may be very different from that of a wasp sting.The most aggressive stinging insects are vespid wasps (including bald-faced hornets and other yellowjackets) and hornets (especially the Asian giant hornet). All of these insects aggressively defend their nests.

Although for most people a bee sting is painful but otherwise relatively harmless, in people with insect sting allergy, stings may trigger a dangerous anaphylactic reaction that is potentially deadly. Additionally, honey bee stings release pheromones that prompt other nearby bees to attack.

Beehive

A beehive is an enclosed, man-made structure in which some honey bee species of the subgenus Apis live and raise their young. Though the word beehive is commonly used to describe the nest of any bee colony, scientific and professional literature distinguishes nest from hive. Nest is used to discuss colonies which house themselves in natural or artificial cavities or are hanging and exposed. Hive is used to describe an artificial, man-made structure to house a honey bee nest. Several species of Apis live in colonies, but for honey production the western honey bee (Apis mellifera) and the eastern honey bee (Apis cerana) are the main species kept in hives.The nest's internal structure is a densely packed group of hexagonal prismatic cells made of beeswax, called a honeycomb. The bees use the cells to store food (honey and pollen) and to house the brood (eggs, larvae, and pupae).

Beehives serve several purposes: production of honey, pollination of nearby crops, housing supply bees for apitherapy treatment, and to try to mitigate the effects of colony collapse disorder. In America, hives are commonly transported so that bees can pollinate crops in other areas. A number of patents have been issued for beehive designs.

Beekeeping

Beekeeping (or apiculture) is the maintenance of bee colonies, commonly in man-made hives, by humans. Most such bees are honey bees in the genus Apis, but other honey-producing bees such as Melipona stingless bees are also kept. A beekeeper (or apiarist) keeps bees in order to collect their honey and other products that the hive produce (including beeswax, propolis, flower pollen, bee pollen, and royal jelly), to pollinate crops, or to produce bees for sale to other beekeepers. A location where bees are kept is called an apiary or "bee yard."

Bibimbap

Bibimbap ( BEE-bim-bap, from Korean 비빔밥 [pi.bim.p͈ap̚], literally "mixed rice"), sometimes romanized as bi bim bap or bi bim bop, is a Korean rice dish. The term “bibim” means mixing various ingredients, while the “bap” noun refers to rice. Bibimbap is served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with namul (sautéed and seasoned vegetables) and gochujang (chili pepper paste), soy sauce, or doenjang (a fermented soybean paste). A raw or fried egg and sliced meat (usually beef) are common additions. The hot dish is stirred together thoroughly just before eating.In South Korea, Jeonju, Jinju, and Tongyeong are especially famous for their versions of bibimbap. In 2011, the dish was listed at number 40 on the World's 50 most delicious foods readers' poll compiled by CNN Travel.

Bumblebee

A bumblebee (or bumble bee, bumble-bee or humble-bee) is any of over 250 species in the genus Bombus, part of Apidae, one of the bee families. This genus is the only extant group in the tribe Bombini, though a few extinct related genera (e.g., Calyptapis) are known from fossils. They are found primarily in higher altitudes or latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere, although they are also found in South America where a few lowland tropical species have been identified. European bumblebees have also been introduced to New Zealand and Tasmania. Female bumblebees can sting repeatedly, but generally ignore humans and other animals.

Most bumblebees are social insects that form colonies with a single queen. The colonies are smaller than those of honey bees, growing to as few as 50 individuals in a nest. Cuckoo bumblebees are brood parasitic and do not make nests; their queens aggressively invade the nests of other bumblebee species, kill the resident queens and then lay their own eggs, which are cared for by the resident workers. Cuckoo bumblebees were previously classified as a separate genus, but are now usually treated as members of Bombus.

Bumblebees have round bodies covered in soft hair (long branched setae) called pile, making them appear and feel fuzzy. They have aposematic (warning) coloration, often consisting of contrasting bands of colour, and different species of bumblebee in a region often resemble each other in mutually protective Müllerian mimicry. Harmless insects such as hoverflies often derive protection from resembling bumblebees, in Batesian mimicry, and may be confused with them. Nest-making bumblebees can be distinguished from similarly large, fuzzy cuckoo bees by the form of the female hind leg. In nesting bumblebees, it is modified to form a pollen basket, a bare shiny area surrounded by a fringe of hairs used to transport pollen, whereas in cuckoo bees, the hind leg is hairy all round, and pollen grains are wedged among the hairs for transport.

Like their relatives the honeybees, bumblebees feed on nectar, using their long hairy tongues to lap up the liquid; the proboscis is folded under the head during flight. Bumblebees gather nectar to add to the stores in the nest, and pollen to feed their young. They forage using colour and spatial relationships to identify flowers to feed from. Some bumblebees steal nectar, making a hole near the base of a flower to access the nectar while avoiding pollen transfer. Bumblebees are important agricultural pollinators, so their decline in Europe, North America, and Asia is a cause for concern. The decline has been caused by habitat loss, the mechanisation of agriculture, and pesticides.

Carpenter bee

Carpenter bees are species in the genus Xylocopa of the subfamily Xylocopinae. The genus includes some 500 species in 31 subgenera. The common name "carpenter bee" derives from their nesting behavior; nearly all species burrow into hard plant material such as dead wood or bamboo. The main exceptions are species in the subgenus Proxylocopa; they dig nesting tunnels in suitable soil.

Colony collapse disorder

Colony collapse disorder (CCD) is the phenomenon that occurs when the majority of worker bees in a colony disappear and leave behind a queen, plenty of food and a few nurse bees to care for the remaining immature bees. While such disappearances have occurred sporadically throughout the history of apiculture, and were known by various names (disappearing disease, spring dwindle, May disease, autumn collapse, and fall dwindle disease), the syndrome was renamed colony collapse disorder in late 2006 in conjunction with a drastic rise in the number of disappearances of western honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies in North America. Most European countries observed a similar phenomenon since 1998, especially marked in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, the UK, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain, Switzerland and Germany; the Northern Ireland Assembly received reports of a decline greater than 50%. The phenomenon became more global when it touched some Asian and African countries too. Colony collapse disorder causes significant economic losses because many agricultural crops worldwide are pollinated by western honey bees. According to the Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the worth of global crops with honey bee pollination was estimated at close to $200 billion in 2005. Shortages of bees in the US have increased the cost to farmers renting them for pollination services by up to 20%.In the six years leading up to 2013, more than 10 million beehives were lost, often to CCD, nearly twice the normal rate of loss. In comparison, according to U.N. FAO data, the world's beehive stock rose from around 50 million in 1961 to around 83 million in 2014, which is about 1.3% average annual growth. Average annual growth has accelerated to 1.9% since 2009.

Several possible causes for CCD have been proposed, but no single proposal has gained widespread acceptance among the scientific community. Suggested causes include: infections with Varroa and Acarapis mites; malnutrition; various pathogens; genetic factors; immunodeficiencies; loss of habitat; changing beekeeping practices; or a combination of factors. A large amount of speculation has surrounded a family of pesticides called neonicotinoids as having caused CCD.

Halictidae

Halictidae is the second-largest family of Apoidea bees. Halictid species occur all over the world and are usually dark-colored and often metallic in appearance. Several species are all or partly green and a few are red; a number of them have yellow markings, especially the males, which commonly have yellow faces, a pattern widespread among the various families of bees.

They are commonly referred to as "sweat bees" (especially the smaller species), as they are often attracted to perspiration. They are only likely to sting if disturbed; the sting is minor.

Honey bee

A honey bee (or honeybee) is a eusocial, flying insect within the genus Apis of the bee clade. They are known for construction of perennial, colonial nests from wax, for the large size of their colonies, and for their surplus production and storage of honey, distinguishing their hives as a prized foraging target of many animals, including honey badgers, bears and human hunter-gatherers. In the early 21st century, only seven species of honey bee are recognized, with a total of 44 subspecies, though historically seven to eleven species are recognized. The best known honey bee is the Western honey bee which has been domesticated for honey production and crop pollination; modern humans also value the wax for candlemaking and other crafts. Honey bees represent only a small fraction of the roughly 20,000 known species of bees. Some other types of related bees produce and store honey and have been kept by humans for that purpose, including the stingless honey bees, but only members of the genus Apis are true honey bees. The study of bees, which includes the study of honey bees, is known as melittology.

Maurice Gibb

Maurice Ernest Gibb (; 22 December 1949 – 12 January 2003) was a British musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer, who achieved fame as a member of the pop group Bee Gees. Although his brothers Barry and Robin Gibb were the group's main lead singers, most of their albums included at least one or two compositions by Maurice, including "Lay It on Me", "Country Woman", and "On Time". The Bee Gees were one of the most successful rock-pop groups ever. Gibb's role in the group focused on melody and arrangements, providing backing vocal harmony and playing a variety of instruments.Born on the Isle of Man, Gibb started his music career in 1955 in Manchester, England, joining the skiffle-rock and roll group the Rattlesnakes, which later evolved into the Bee Gees in 1958 when they moved to Australia. They returned to England, where they achieved worldwide fame. In 2002, the Bee Gees were appointed as CBEs for their "contribution to music". Following his death in 2003, Gibb's son collected his award at Buckingham Palace in 2004.Gibb's earliest musical influences included the Everly Brothers, Cliff Richard, and Paul Anka; the Mills Brothers and the Beatles were significant later influences. By 1964 he began his career as an instrumentalist, playing guitar on "Claustrophobia". After the group's break-up in 1969, Gibb released his first solo single, "Railroad", but his first solo album, The Loner, has never been released.

Megachilidae

Megachilidae is a cosmopolitan family of mostly solitary bees whose pollen-carrying structure (called a scopa) is restricted to the ventral surface of the abdomen (rather than mostly or exclusively on the hind legs as in other bee families). Megachilid genera are most commonly known as mason bees and leafcutter bees, reflecting the materials from which they build their nest cells (soil or leaves, respectively); a few collect plant or animal hairs and fibers, and are called carder bees, while others use plant resins in nest construction and are correspondingly called resin bees. All species feed on nectar and pollen, but a few are kleptoparasites (informally called "cuckoo bees"), feeding on pollen collected by other megachilid bees. Parasitic species do not possess scopae. The motion of Megachilidae in the reproductive structures of flowers is energetic and swimming-like; this agitation releases large amounts of pollen.

Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali (; born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr.; January 17, 1942 – June 3, 2016) was an American professional boxer, activist, and philanthropist. He is nicknamed "The Greatest" and is widely regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated sports figures of the 20th century and as one of the greatest boxers of all time.

Ali was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky and began training as an amateur boxer at age 12. At 18, he won a gold medal in the light heavyweight division at the 1960 Summer Olympics, and turned professional later that year. He converted to Islam and became a Muslim after 1961, and eventually took the name Muhammad Ali. He won the world heavyweight championship from Sonny Liston in a major upset at age 22 in 1964. In 1966, Ali refused to be drafted into the military, citing his religious beliefs and opposition to the Vietnam War. He was arrested, found guilty of draft evasion, and stripped of his boxing titles. He appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, which overturned his conviction in 1971, but he had not fought for nearly four years and lost a period of peak performance as an athlete. His actions as a conscientious objector to the war made him an icon for the larger counterculture generation, and he was a high-profile figure of racial pride for African Americans during the civil rights movement. As a Muslim, Ali was initially affiliated with Elijah Muhammad's Nation of Islam (NOI). He later disavowed the NOI, adhering to Sunni Islam, and supporting racial integration like his former mentor Malcolm X.

Ali was a leading heavyweight boxer of the 20th century, and he remains the only three-time lineal champion of that division. His joint records of beating 21 boxers for the world heavyweight title and winning 14 unified title bouts stood for 35 years. Ali is the only boxer to be named The Ring magazine Fighter of the Year six times. He has been ranked the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time, and as the greatest athlete of the 20th century by Sports Illustrated, the Sports Personality of the Century by the BBC, and the third greatest athlete of the 20th century by ESPN SportsCentury. He was involved in several historic boxing matches and feuds, most notably his fights with Joe Frazier, such as the Thrilla in Manila and his fight with George Foreman known as the Rumble in the Jungle which has been called "arguably the greatest sporting event of the 20th century", and the fight was watched by a record estimated television audience of 1 billion viewers worldwide, becoming the world's most-watched live television broadcast at the time. Ali thrived in the spotlight at a time when many fighters let their managers do the talking, and he was often provocative and outlandish. He was known for trash-talking, and often free-styled with rhyme schemes and spoken word poetry, anticipating elements of rap and hip hop music.Outside the ring, Ali attained success as a musician, where he received two Grammy nominations. He also featured as an actor and writer, releasing two autobiographies. Ali retired from boxing in 1981 and focused on religion and charity. In 1984, he made public his diagnosis of Parkinson's syndrome, which some reports attribute to boxing-related injuries, though he and his specialist physicians disputed this. He remained an active public figure globally, but in his latter years made increasingly limited public appearances as his condition worsened, and he was cared for by his family until his death on June 3, 2016.

Robin Gibb

Robin Hugh Gibb (22 December 1949 – 20 May 2012) was an English singer, songwriter and record producer, who gained worldwide fame as a member of the pop group the Bee Gees. Their younger brother Andy was also a singer. Robin Gibb also had his own successful solo career.Gibb was born in Douglas on the Isle of Man to English parents, Hugh and Barbara Gibb; the family later moved to Manchester (where Andy was born) before settling in Redcliffe, just north of Brisbane, Australia. Gibb began his career as part of the family trio (Barry-Maurice-Robin). When the group found their first success, they returned to England where they achieved worldwide fame. In 2002, the Bee Gees were appointed as CBEs for their "contribution to music". However, investiture at Buckingham Palace was delayed until 2004.With record sales estimated in excess of 200 million units, the Bee Gees became one of the most successful pop groups of all time. Music historian Paul Gambaccini described Gibb as "one of the major figures in the history of British music" and "one of the best white soul voices ever". From 2008 to 2011, Gibb was President of the Heritage Foundation, honouring figures in British culture. After a career spanning six decades, Gibb last performed on stage in February 2012 supporting injured British servicemen at a charity concert at the London Palladium. On 20 May 2012, Gibb died at the age of 62 from liver and kidney failure brought on by colorectal cancer.As an instrumentalist, Gibb primarily played a variety of keyboards, notably piano, organ and Mellotron on the Bee Gees album Odessa (1969); he also played acoustic guitar and organ on his debut solo album Robin's Reign (1970).

The Sacramento Bee

The Sacramento Bee is a daily newspaper published in Sacramento, California, in the United States. Since its founding in 1857, The Bee has become the largest newspaper in Sacramento, the fifth largest newspaper in California, and the 27th largest paper in the U.S. It is distributed in the upper Sacramento Valley, with a total circulation area that spans about 12,000 square miles (31,000 km2): south to Stockton, California, north to the Oregon border, east to Reno, Nevada, and west to the San Francisco Bay Area.The Bee is the flagship of the nationwide McClatchy Company. Its "Scoopy Bee" mascot, created by Walt Disney in 1943, has been used by all three Bee newspapers (Sacramento, Modesto, and Fresno).

Western honey bee

The western honey bee or European honey bee (Apis mellifera) is the most common of the 7–12 species of honey bee worldwide. The genus name Apis is Latin for "bee", and mellifera is the Latin for "honey-bearing", referring to the species' production of honey.

Like all honey bees, the western honey bee is eusocial, creating colonies with a single fertile female (or "queen"), many normally non-reproductive females or "workers," and small proportion of fertile males or "drones." Individual colonies can house tens of thousands of bees. Colony activities are organized by complex communication between individuals, through both pheromones and the dance language.

The western honey bee was one of the first domesticated insects, and it is the primary species maintained by beekeepers to this day for both its honey production and pollination activities. With human assistance, the western honey bee now occupies every continent except Antarctica. Because of its wide cultivation, this species is the single most important pollinator for agriculture globally. Honey bees are threatened by pests and diseases, especially the varroa mite and colony collapse disorder.

Western honey bees are an important model organism in scientific studies, particularly in the fields of social evolution, learning, and memory; they are also used in studies of pesticide toxicity, to assess non-target impacts of commercial pesticides.

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