RTÉ Brainstorm Article by Dr. Baljit Singh
Recent RTÉ Brainstorm article by Dr. Baljit Singh, explains “The Waggle Dance: How bees use the waggle dance as Google Maps for pollen”. The carefully choreographed movement tells other bees where to go to find pollen within five kilometres of the hive.
Bees provide pollination to virtually every fruit and vegetable plant thus playing a crucial role in agricultural food production and wild plant diversity and conservation. They are also an important source of income for beekeepers and this contributes to the economic value of rural areas (there are an estimated 3,000 beekeepers in Ireland). However, human activity is causing dramatic declines in insects. A recent study in the Biological Conservation journal reported that 40% of insect species could be gone in a few decades and that the world is witnessing the "largest extinction event on the earth". The main factors affecting the health of bees are biological (diseases, parasites invasive species, etc chemical (pesticides, etc), environmental (landscape fragmentation and modern agricultural landscapes), climate, and hive management.