honeybees

A Bug’s Life: Surviving Disease in the Colonies

It’s a warm, spring day. You’re sitting under a tree snacking on a bag of potato chips, when a breeze tickles your nose. You sneeze, sending a soggy crumb into the grass where it bonks an unsuspecting ant on the head. Unfazed, she nibbles the chip, then heaves it over her shoulder and carries it back to the colony. Little does she know that, during its brief flight from your mouth, this sticky glob picked up a fungal spore that is deadly to ants. Within a day she’ll be sick, within two she’ll be dead.

From the Spring 2021 issue of California.

Berkeley Prof on Beekeeping and the Personality of a “Hive Mind”

Jonathan Sheehan, director of the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion, has always been interested in social insects. So a few years ago, after meeting a beekeeper in Santa Cruz and telling him he’d like to keep his own bees, Sheehan found himself driving his little blue Honda Accord home—with his first hive in the back.

“As I was driving, I was worried I’d get into an accident and find 30,000 angry bees in the car,” Sheehan says. “It’s been fun ever since.”

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