Saturday, 31 March 2012

Apis mellifera

Fun Facts:

1) Apis mellifera (commonly known as the honey bee) is the most important group of insect pollinators on the planet. If you like eating fruit and vegetables, thank a bee.

2) If your name is Melissa, know that it comes from the Greek word for honey bee, which in turn comes from the word meli for honey. Now that's a sweet name!   

3) Bees use nectar to make honey. They combine the nectar with special enzymes that break down complex sugars into simple sugars. The mix is placed in honeycombs and allowed to evaporate until it gets gooey(<== highly technical term) before becoming honey. 

4) Foraging bees love to dance! The round dance and the waggle dance are both used to communicate food sources to other bees. The former indicates the location of a food source close to the hive and the latter, a food source further away from the hive.

5) Foraging and worker bees are all female and possess a stinger which is a modified ovipositor. The ovipositor is an egg laying organ. Males, called drones, do not have ovipositors so they cannot sting. They are generally defensless.

6) To keep from getting lost while foraging, Apis meliffera uses the Earth's magnetic filed, the position of the sun, her internal clock, and her ability to see polarized light to track her location. 

7) A foraging bee returning to the hive will transfer her nectar mouth to mouth to another bee that starts the process of making honey. Hey, use a glass, seesh! 
Yes, this is me holding a swarm.
Flash Fiction ~300 words: (I wrote this last night at 1am...I guess that makes it this morning then. Apologies in advance.)

Cold, blood-draining fear enveloped him. For a few seconds he was paralyzed by the faint hum in the distance. It filtered into his ear canal like a dark whisper from the lips of Hell. And then he saw it, a black cloud gliding down the mountain. Apis Q had released her swarm. Devon knew he had to run. The extraction team would not come this time. He was on his own. His only chance of survival was to get to the portal before the swarm claimed him.

He ran hard.

He ran for his life.

Behind him, the buzzing sound of death in a sharp crescendo converged on the outer edges of his darkest fears.  

Don’t look back, just keep running.

But the urge was too strong. He had to look. For a fraction of a second, he glanced over his shoulder and his fears became reality. The swarm of bees had reached him. Their tiny bodies latch on, dozens at a time, gripping the soft skin of his neck and scurrying down his back on jointed appendages. They buzzed and vibrated as they invaded Devon's body, spreading into his hair, over his arms, and moving between the folds of his clothes. He could not stop the swell of panic from rising. His breath shortened. Frantically, he tried brushing off the miniscule aggressors with awkward flailing movements that succeeded only in slowing him down. As the portal came into view, the bees changed strategies. In unison, they drove their sickle shaped stingers into his body, injecting him with the contagion. The pain snapped his body back lifting his feet off the ground. Balance was lost and he pummelled to the hard earth, inches from the portal. Bees now blanketed his body and face. If only he could push through the pain to reach the delicate membrane of the portal…

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Thank you to everyone who helped put this A-Z Challenge together.
I have nothing written in advance, but I'll do my best to keep up!

18 comments:

  1. Thanks for the fun facts, Elise...
    That's really you? With those thousands of bees? *shudders*
    Powerful piece of flash fiction... made my skin crawl...

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    1. Yeah, that's me minus 10 years. Glad the fiction made your skin crawl, exactly what I was going for! I'll be coming your way soon, having computer problems...as usual! ):

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  2. Wow, I was going to thank you for the interesting facts and then you hit us with that creepy flash! Like Michelle said, my skin is crawling!

    I love your writing though - loved reading it during the campaign and look forward to more (well done for doing so well with the second challenge by the way!)

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  3. It's so great to be able to glean knowledge from others in an interesting way and then to use it in your flash fiction - great.

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  4. You were very brave to have so many bees landing on you Elise, your arm must have gotten quite heavy.

    Nice way to introduce the Flash Fiction piece. Pat on the back to you too, for your placing in the campaign! Well done!

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  5. Stacey: Thanks so much! (=

    Sally: I've learned so much from others during the past few weeks, it's been great! Thanks for stopping by.

    CM: My arm did get heavy and after a few minutes I had to gently shake the bees off to pass the queen to someone else.

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  6. Bees are fascinating. I liked your facts, especially about only females having a sting in the tail... haha. Nice flash - very chilling. You're brave not only for holding the swarm, but for doing your posts on the fly! Look forward to more!

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    1. I don't know about brave. Maybe crazy..we'll see in 30 days! lol Thanks for stopping by.

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  7. Cool post! Of course it's the females who do all the work. Loved your story. You do pretty good, writing at 1 a.m. I don't have any of my posts planned either. Maybe we can encourage each other to keep up.

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    1. You got it. Besides, I need all the encouragement I can get! :D

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  8. Great first post for the Blogfest! You will never see me with all those bees, but I do love honey.

    Looking forward to seeing what else you do this month!

    Tim
    The Other Side
    The Freedom of Nonbelief

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  9. Ahhh....the bees! The poor bees. And now they think a pesticide is what is causing the die off! Ban that pesticide, we can't do without bees!
    I've had an interesting experience with bees I will write about some day. Never wash your hair and go out to lay in the sun right in a bee fly way!

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    1. LoL! Would love to hear about that one!

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  10. Loved the excerpt. And what a pic! Wow. Talk about living on the edge ;)

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  11. The picture is incredible!!! Were you scared to get stung? Such an interesting post and with the bonus of flash fiction. Thanks for stopping by my blog and good luck with A-Z this month.

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  12. Great picture. And thanks for the fun facts.

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  13. I was not surprised when I pulled this up and saw that you wrote about bees. :) Nice excerpt.

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  14. Who would have thought that A leads to a lot of interesting information and a creepy flash fiction about bees!

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