What Happens If All The Bees Die?

What Happens If All The Bees Die?


Bees play a crucial role on Earth – some even
claim that if they go extinct, humanity would be next. So with the dramatic decline in bee
population, should we be worried? What happens if the bees all die? Simply put, if a plant produces a flower,
you can bet that bees help them reproduce. This long-standing, working relationship evolved
with flowers being bright and fragrant to attract bees, and the bees fuzzy, velcro-like
bodies helping them to efficiently transfer pollen from the male part of the plant to
the female part. This seemingly simple mechanism is directly responsible for the production
of 70% of fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts that we consume on a daily basis. 70%! Which
translates into almost $200 billion in global agriculture revenue. This huge responsibility
is accomplished by droves of commercial bees, reared by professional beekeepers for the
sole purpose of being transported to farms and orchards to pollinate crops. But since 2006, these hardworking, busy bees
have been mysteriously disappearing. This Colony Collapse Disorder has seen an average
of 1/3rd of commercial bees abandoning their hives. In fact, some beekeepers have even
reported that 90% of their bees have simply buzzed off. In some colonies, mites, viruses and parasites
have been to blame, but many are now looking at a class of insecticides called neonicotinoids.
This neurotoxin is used to kill off crop eating insects and pests, but also affects the central
nervous systems of bees when they consume contaminated nectar. And since nectar is brought
back to hives, the entire colony can be affected, leading to mass confusion and disorientation.
On top of this, other factors such as extremely cold and long winters, a lack of genetic diversity
in commercial bees, and less variable nectar in the fields may be at fault. If the trend continues, entire food chains
and webs may be at risk. Take almond plants for example; the hulls of these nuts are used
as feed for farm cattle and chickens. Fewer bees means fewer almonds, which could mean
declining livestock, and ultimately less milk, cheese, eggs and meat production. Not to mention
almonds are used in cereal, baking and many other food products. Beef and dairy cows would
also be harshly affected by the vanishing alfalfa fields which are used to harvest hay
for cattle. Looking for a morning buzz? Considering bees pollinate Coffea arabica, whose seeds
we grind for coffee, you can count that out. Without bees, our diet would consist of mostly
corn, wheat and rice, as they are wind pollinated plants. Like your clothes? Not only is cotton the
biggest cash crop in the US, it also makes up about 35% of the world’s fiber use. So
you can forget those blue jeans, towels, mattresses and high quality paper products. Simply put, we’d be living in a completely
different world without bees, not to mention suffering a substantial economic strain from
their disappearance. So while we may not necessarily go ‘extinct’ should the downward trend
persist, a world without the buzz of bees would definitely…sting! Want a free copy of our NEW book? Now you
can get one from Audible.com/asap which is the leading provider of audiobooks with over
150,000 dowloadable titles across all types of literature. Our book just came out this
past week and it covers a ton of questions that have never been answered in our videos
which we’re so excited to share with you! You can download it, or another audio book
of your choice, for free, at audible.com/asap. Special thanks to Audible for making these
videos possible, and to YOU for continually supporting our show and science education.
It means a lot! And if you missed our Live SCIENCE stream
last week where we performed the Periodic Table Song live and answered your burning
questions, be sure to check it out here, or by using the link in the description. And subscribe for more weekly science videos.

The Goats with Spider Genes and Silk in their Milk – Horizon: Playing God – BBC Two

The Goats with Spider Genes and Silk in their Milk – Horizon: Playing God – BBC Two


These, yep, these are our goats So just regular goats! They’re absolutely regular. No,They’re totally incredible goats! So over here we have The kids that were born this year and then the older goats are all on that side And these are your spider goats, these are the spider goat? they’re eating my top. Hey come on. Okay? Hey hey, hey, just you’re in the camara to these kids have the genes for spider In them yes, this is it insane! And where does the spider silk actually come from [I] mean what we would get! It was a design so it comes in the milk. They look like such normal goats, but in fact They’re totally unique and bizarre. I mean, this is bizarre. I guess I would not say it’s bizarre. I think that it it’s It’s certainly different, but you know that they’re absolutely normal. I don’t think there’s anything different about him Hey Freckles Come here Freckles over here, right, so [we] have names for all the goats. He’s actually one of the very original goats that was created Can we actually milk them now? I mean yeah, we can um there’s the two They’re standing right here 57 and 59 who are putting in sweetie We can knock those and and you can see the milk Putting in sweetie putting in sweetie Freckles putting in sweetie the spider goats yes. Yes, just a just a totally regular farm. That’s right That’s right. Come on. I So well-behaved as well that’s right. That’s right. [they] know oh get that out of the way there you go there you go To the pumps just going like that That’s all there is to it. Oh, you can see it on there Yep You can actually see it coming up being seen [love] coming out [see] this is exactly the same as any normal goat man absolute cess Absolutely do exactly the same All right, so she’s about done and we can disconnect this We can [hunker] this open and you can take a look and see Well, just looks like normal milk looks like absolutely normal milk if you actually do an analysis of it And you look at all the components the milk the only thing you’ll find is different Is that there’s one extra protein in there, and that’s our spider silk [protein] all the rest of it looks absolutely like normal goat’s milk you

Fig Wasp Story

Fig Wasp Story


In nature, interactions among organisms
take many forms, and can have either positive or negative effects on the individuals involved. Competition is a type of interaction where
both individuals are negatively impacted because they are fighting for the same resource,
such as habitat or nutrients. Predation is a form of competition in which
one individual benefits while the other is harmed. The predator feeds and the prey… well, it
dies, when the predator is successful. Parasitism is a specialized form of predation,
where a larger organism is the host of a much smaller and sinister tenant. Parasites thrive
at the expense of the host. They have quicker They have quicker generation times and are
specialists, so most live their entire lives within a host. Mutualism is a relationship where both organisms
benefit from each other. Plants often recruit insects, to participate in a contract that
provides food in exchange for pollination. However, mutualism may share many characteristics
with parasitism, as is the case of obligate mutualism. Here,
instead of one thriving at the expense of the other neither can survive or reproduce without the
other. This is the definitive case of the fig tree
and the fig wasp. The fig is not a fruit, but a hollow garden
of flowers. A female fig wasp has laid her eggs and pollinated the flowers, which have
now reached maturity. The fig is a nursery, it has cared for the
future wasps by protecting them within its galls. The male wasps mature early. Wingless and
almost blind, they are the first to emerge from their galls. Then their essential ritual
begins, as he mates while the female is still in her gall, ensuring she has everything she
needs to produce eggs when she reaches maturity. Soon thereafter the females emerge. They look
very different, with antennae and large eyes, powerful wings
and a long ovipositor. They are not built to be enclosed, they are
meant to be free. They don’t have much time, for the fruit ripens
as soon as the galls are empty. Male wasps cut stamens and offer the pollen
to the females, which they take as a parting gift. Finally, the males proceed to dig a tunnel
to set the females free. They briefly witness the light of day in their
dying moments, while the females fly towards their quest
for another fig. The fig left behind rapidly ripens, which
attracts animals that will eat them and disperse their seeds.
This is the legacy of the wasp; she provides the pollination that completes the fig`s reproduction. Female wasps have very short lives and to
cope with this and the risk of missing out on pollination, fig trees randomly fruit throughout the year. And so the pollen-laden wasp reaches an immature
fig. But her journey is far from over; ahead lies the greatest challenge of her brief
life. Clawing and squeezing her way through the
gate her wings and antennae are ripped from her.
She makes the ultimate sacrifice, as the final push to enter bursts her abdomen. In an epic struggle between sacrifice and
survival, the mother wasp crawls through the narrow labyrinth towards the inner chamber. She is wounded
and weak, carrying only her eggs and the pollen gift of the former fig. If the wasp fails to pollinate the flowers,
no seeds will ever develop. Fig fruits with no future are costly to the tree, so they
will not receive an inflow of nutrients. If the wasp does not pollinate, the entire
fig may be aborted. However, if she devotes herself to pollination
as well as laying eggs, she ensures the fig will hold the promise of seeds. The tree will
pump sugars and nutrients into the fig, securing the future of seeds and larvae alike. When
they mature and leave, the fig will ripen, thus completing the cycle of mutual benefit
that has existed for millions of years. After so much effort, she finally reaches
the nursery to complete her mission. The pollen she carries will ensure the fig remains, and
so will her developing offspring. Struggling, she lays her eggs with her ovipositor
into receptive flowers. Finally, she unpacks her gift of pollen and
fertilizes the fig. After perpetuating the relationship, she lays
down in her grave of flowers. She has ensured life continues beyond her;
the tree will care for her young alongside its own developing seeds. In time, some seeds will grow into centennial
trees, and somewhere, out there, a mother wasp looks
for a fig. And so the mutual cycle starts anew.

Why Are The Bees Dying?

Why Are The Bees Dying?


[MUSIC] [MUSIC] A single honey bee weighs just a tenth of
a gram, but a beehive is worth more than its weight in gold. Crops pollinated by bees are worth $215 billion
worldwide, and they provide us with 75% of the fruits, veggies, and nuts we eat.
Their pollinating services are worth at least $24 billion to U.S. farmers, but that’s
probably an underestimate. Bees also pollinate the coffee plant. That
might be the most critical job on Earth. One could say that bees are the bee’s knees. To say that bees are important would be like
saying Beyonce is a pretty good singer. Incidentally, she has a bee-impersonating fly named after
her. When people talk about bee death, they’re
usually talking about the European honey bee. Cue the bee roll please.
This one species is basically a domesticated animal, just like cows, sheep, or chickens,
taken from the wild, put in a box, and used to harvest honey and pollinate crops. Each winter, it’s normal for a small fraction
of colonies to die off, but between 1947 and 2005 US beekeepers lost nearly half their
bees. By 2006 beekeepers were reporting losses as high as 90% and this honey bee apocalypse
was given a name: Colony Collapse Disorder. Talk about a buzz kill–
“Too soon!” A hive that falls victim to CCD is like a
ghost town: no adult worker bees, the honey and immature young left behind… it’s pretty
much just a lonely queen wandering around like her friends stranded her at a party. But honey bees’ wild, solo-living cousins
are in trouble too. It’s estimated that over the past 120 years,
as many as half of all wild bee species have gone extinct. Bee die-offs have been reported as far back
as 1868, but as far as we know they’ve never happened on this scale before. And we’re
not entirely sure what’s causing it. Pesticides are one of the likely culprits,
particularly a class of chemicals called neonicotinoids. Feeding on neonic-tainted food can be deadly
to bees, and even at nonlethal doses bees can lose the ability to communicate and forage. In some places, there’s just not as many
flowers as there used to be. Like humans, bees do best when they eat a balanced diet
from many different sources. Thanks to habitat loss, we’re giving them a buffet with just
a few choices, and it’s definitely not “all you can eat”. Just because they’re small doesn’t mean
bees can’t get sick. When a colony is weakened by pesticides or lack of food, they become
more vulnerable to viruses, parasites, and all kinds of other infections. Like these blood-sucking mites, which, judging
from their name I’m guessing are pretty bad. These bacteria can turn larvae into liquid.
And these parasites lay eggs inside the bees’ breathing tubes, suffocating them to death. Turns out some bees are naturally resistant
to some of these infections, so scientists are trying to breed entire colonies that can
fight off these microscopic horrors. According to a 2015 study in the journal Science,
it’s likely that instead of one culprit, bee declines are being driven by a perfect
storm of troubles: pesticides, habitat loss, and infections. But there are possible solutions, and all
of us can do our part. We can plant more flowers in more places,
reduce the use of pesticides, keep out invasive species, and take better care of our wild
bees. Most of all, we all need to keep an eye on
our relationship with nature, in the garden or in the grocery store. The Belgian writer
Maurice Maeterlinck wrote in 1901, “You will probably more than once have seen
her fluttering about the bushes, in a deserted corner of your garden, without realizing that
you were carelessly watching the venerable ancestor to whom we probably owe most of our
flowers and fruits, and possibly even our civilization.” As William Shakespeare once said, to bee or
not to bee. To bee. Stay curious.

Watch This Bee Build Her Bee-jeweled Nest | Deep Look

Watch This Bee Build Her Bee-jeweled Nest | Deep Look


What’s this bee up to digging around in
the mud? This blue orchard bee is a mason, a builder. Her material is – you guessed it – mud. And she works alone. In fact, unlike those honeybee hives you might
think of, most of the 4,000 types of bees in North America are solitary. See how she scrapes the wet earth? She collects it with two huge pincer-like
tools on her face called mandibles. She’s gathering mud to make her nest. The nest is long and thin. In nature, she goes into places like hollow
twigs. At the University of California, Davis, she
uses a six-inch-long paper straw provided by researchers. In this nest without a straw you can see how
she builds a wall of mud. Then she gathers food from spring flowers,
but not only to feed herself. See the pretty purple pollen on the anther
of this flower? She grabs the anthers with her legs and rubs
the pollen onto hairs on her abdomen called scopa. And while she’s at it, she sips a little
nectar from the blooms. When she climbs back into her nest, she turns
the pollen and nectar into a sweet morsel next to the mud wall. On this purple ball she lays a single egg. She repeats this several times in her narrow
nest. Egg. Wall. Egg. Wall. When she’s done, she seals it all up with
more mud. A cross-section of the nest shows her incredible
craftsmanship: it looks like a piece of jewelry. Soon, the eggs hatch. The hungry larvae feed on their pollen provision,
the purple lunchbox their mom packed for them. Still in the safety of the nest, the well-fed
larva spins a cocoon. The following spring, the adult bee chews
its way out. Just like their name says, blue orchard bees
love orchards: fields of almonds and sweet cherries. And they’re really good at pollinating them:
A few hundred females can pollinate as many almonds as thousands of honeybees. And their tube nest means they’re portable. That makes it easy to distribute them to farmers. So why haven’t they taken over the fields? Well, they reproduce slowly. They only have 15 babies a year. A queen honeybee has 500 … a day. So there just aren’t that many blue orchard
bees around. But some farmers are enlisting them anyway,
hoping they can provide some relief to their struggling honeybee cousins. If you look carefully, you might just spot
a blue orchard bee foraging out in a field, helping keep fruits and nuts on our plates. Hi. It’s Laura. A special shoutout and thank you to Bill Cass
and James Tarraga, whose generous monthly support on Patreon helps make Deep Look possible. If you’d like to get in on the buzz, come
join our Deep Look community on Patreon. Click the button or link below to unlock rewards
like exclusive digital downloads, chats with the producers and cool swag. One more thing. Our partner, PBS Digital Studios, wants to
hear from you. It’s a survey so we can make even better
shows. It takes about ten minutes, and you might
win a sweet T-shirt. Link in the description. Thanks!

Turret Spiders Launch Sneak Attacks From Tiny Towers | Deep Look


The world is a very different place when darkness
falls. Most of us head for home … for cover. Because as the shadows creep in, they hide
things … Frightful things … What is that? That little tower? Look, there’s another one. They blend in so well. That was a California turret spider. Its lair is like the turret of a castle, rising
above the forest floor. It’s lined the inside with pearly white
silk. And coated the outside with mud, moss or leaves The turret leads down to the spider’s burrow,
that can descend six inches underground. The spider spends its days down there. As the last rays of sun die out, it rises
… to wait … motionless … Until some unsuspecting creature happens by,
like this pill bug. Every step it takes creates tiny tremors,
betraying its location. Whew! That was close. Turret spiders actually have pretty poor vision. Instead they rely on feel, bursting out in
whichever direction the vibrations seem to come from. So, sometimes they miss. They belong to group of spiders called mygalomorphs
— along with their more famous cousins: tarantulas and trap-door spiders. They pack oversized fangs that swing down
like a pair of pickaxes. They’ were hunting this way long before
spiders started building intricate aerial webs
like this orb-weaver spider. Instead, a female turret spider might live
for 16 years and never stray from her turret. She only ventures into the world for a split
second. Just long enough to drag her next victim down
to its demise. Check this out- a turret spiderling. Once it’s big enough, it’ll venture out
from their mom’s house and set out on its own. But usually not too far away. Deep Look knows what you like… more spiders! Do black widows really deserve their bad rap? And why is this spider … dancing? Leap out and hit that subscribe button and
that little notification bell – so you never miss an episode of Deep Look. See you next time.

Cockroach Cremation

Cockroach Cremation


Warning: This experiment deals with molten potassium chlorate. There is a small chance the vial or test tube could shatter spilling the contents. Fire safety plans should be in place. Greetings fellow nerds. A friend of mine wants me to apply molten potassium chlorate to this dead cockroach he found. I have weird friends. Anyway here is the potassium chlorate and I’m going to melt it with this torch to make it more reactive. And here is the cockroach. Looks like I didn’t heat it enough at the beginning so I’ll give it another blast. There we go! Potassium chlorate is a powerful oxidant that directly provides oxygen to combustible materials like this cockroach making them burn faster than they normally would on air. And that is pretty fast. There is almost nothing left of the cockroach. This was the most thorough cremation I’ve ever seen. Thanks for watching, please subscribe, like and comment.

Turns Out, Spiders Use Electricity to Fly

Turns Out, Spiders Use Electricity to Fly


[♩INTRO] So you’re walking along, minding your own
business, when you notice something out of the corner
of your eye and look up. That’s when you see thousands upon thousands
of spiders on long silk balloons falling from the sky
all at once. You’ve just witnessed one of the most incredible,and
terrifying, natural phenomena on the planet: spider rains. For a long time, scientists assumed that,
like kites, ballooning spiders can fly because their silken
threads generate enough lift to ride currents of air. But according to a study published in Current
Biology this week by researchers at the University of Bristol
in the UK, they don’t actually need a breeze at all. Turns out, spiders can fly using the electricity
in our atmosphere. Spider ballooning was first documented by
an English naturalist in the 17th century, and ever since, scientists
have been trying to figure out exactly what they’re
doing and why they’re doing it. A lot of the time, the ballooners are baby
spiders looking for a place of their own to settle
down. They can reach altitudes of almost 5 kilometers and fly for hundreds of kilometers. Talk about putting some space between you
and your parents. But instead of loading up their Volvos and
moving to Montana, to take off, the spiders find somewhere high
up, then stand tall, raise their rears, and emit thin, meter-long silk threads in
the shape of a sail. When they let go, they’re pulled into the
air with surprising speed, even on calm days. And that speed is one of the things that has
never quite added up with the idea that these spiders ride the
wind. Biologists have seen spiders ballooning when
winds are almost imperceptible, or even when it’s raining. And the wind hypothesis doesn’t explain
how the spiders eject their silk so forcefully without the help of their legs, or how the strands maintain a fan-like shape
without tangling. So the team from the University of Bristol
decided to test something no one else had: whether the spiders can ride
electricity. The idea that electrostatic forces provide
the necessary lift has been around for centuries, but no one
ever really looked at it. Then, in 2013, a physicist from the University
of Hawaii worked out some of the theoretical details. He released his paper as a preprint that was
never officially published, but the authors of the new study thought it
was worth investigating. The whole thing hinges around the fact that
no matter what the weather is, there’s a difference in electric charge between the ground and the sky that creates
an electric field. So if the spiders’ silk picked up some static
charge, those threads could be pushed by the electric
field. Since like charges repel one another, the
charge of the ground, or whatever the spider is standing on, would
propel the silk out and up. And enough pushing could fling the spider
into the sky. But since the 2013 paper was purely theoretical, the new study’s authors decided to put it
to the test. They took ballooning spiders and placed them
on a small cardboard pedestal in a special chamber designed to have no electric
field or air movement. Then they induced electric fields of different
magnitudes, and watched what the spiders did. Even in the complete absence of wind, the
spiders began to get into that rump-raising position that
sets them up for ballooning. And with a strong enough field, they started
to spin silk, and even flew. Once airborne, the researchers could make
the spiders rise or fall just by turning the electric field on or off. An earlier study, published last month in
PLOS Biology, noted that these spiders seem to test the
wind with their legs before they start to spin their silk sails. And this week’s study found that the hairs
on the spiders’ legs moved in response to changes in electric fields,
too. But those hair movements were different from
the way they moved in response to wind, which means the spiders
might be feeling around for both of those things. Riding electricity could explain some of the
weirder aspects of their flight like how they take off on seemingly windless
days or in the rain. But most of the time, air isn’t completely
still, so the spiders probably use a combination
of electricity and wind to fly. There are still some parts of this left to
figure out, though like how the spiders’ silk becomes charged
in the first place, or whether they can control their flight to
decide where to land. Learning more about how spiders fly can help
biologists predict when they’re going to do it, and get a better understanding of their ecological
needs. And it might also make it easier to predict
those rare episodes of spider rain. Because I don’t know about you, but if ten
thousand spiders are going to land in my neighborhood, I’d would prefer to know that that’s going
to happen before it happens. Thanks for watching SciShow News. If you want to share your love of SciShow
with the world, we finally have created new merch. New shirts, stickers, and mugs. Check them out at DFTBA.com/SciShow. And thank you! [♩OUTRO]

Mating frenzies, sperm hoards, and brood raids: the life of a fire ant queen – Walter R. Tschinkel


It’s June, just after a heavy rainfall, and the sky is filling with creatures
we wouldn’t normally expect to find there. At first glance,
this might be a disturbing sight. But for the lucky males and females
of Solenopsis invicta, otherwise known as fire ants,
it’s a day of romance. This is the nuptial flight, when thousands of reproduction-capable
male and female ants, called alates,
take wing for the first and last time. But even for successful males
who manage to avoid winged predators, this mating frenzy will prove lethal. And for a successfully mated female,
her work is only beginning. Having secured a lifetime supply of sperm
from her departed mate, our new queen must now single-handedly
start an entire colony. Descending to the ground, she searches for a suitable spot
to build her nest. Ideally, she can find somewhere
with loose, easy-to-dig soil— like farmland
already disturbed by human activity. Once she finds the perfect spot,
she breaks off her wings— creating the stubs
that establish her royal status. Then, she starts digging
a descending tunnel ending in a chamber. Here the queen begins laying her eggs,
about ten per day, and the first larvae hatch within a week. Over the next three weeks, the new queen relies on a separate batch
of unfertilized eggs to nourish both herself and her brood, losing half her body weight
in the process. Thankfully, after about 20 days, these larvae grow
into the first generation of workers, ready to forage for food
and sustain their shrunken queen. Her daughters
will have to work quickly though— returning their mother
to good health is urgent. In the surrounding area, dozens of neighboring queens
are building their own ant armies. These colonies
have peacefully coexisted so far, but once workers appear, a phenomenon known as brood-raiding
begins. Workers from nests
up to several meters away begin to steal offspring
from our queen. Our colony retaliates, but new waves of raiders
from even further away overwhelm the workers. Within hours, the raiders have taken
our queen’s entire brood supply to the largest nearby nest— and the queen’s surviving daughters
abandon her. Chasing her last chance of survival, the queen follows the raiding trail
to the winning nest. She fends off other losing queens
and the defending nest’s workers, fighting her way
to the top of the brood pile. Her daughters help their mother succeed
where other queens fail— defeating the reigning monarch,
and usurping the brood pile. Eventually,
all the remaining challengers fail, until only one queen—
and one brood pile— remains. Now presiding over several hundred workers
in the neighborhood’s largest nest, our victorious queen begins
aiding her colony in its primary goal: reproduction. For the next several years,
the colony only produces sterile workers. But once their population
exceeds about 23,000, it changes course. From now on, every spring, the colony will produce
fertile alate males and females. The colony spawns these larger ants
throughout the early summer, and returns to worker production
in the fall. After heavy rainfalls,
these alates take to the skies, and spread their queen’s genes
up to a couple hundred meters downwind. But to contribute
to this annual mating frenzy, the colony must continue to thrive
as one massive super-organism. Every day, younger ants feed the queen
and tend to the brood, while older workers
forage for food and defend the nest. When intruders strike, these older warriors fend them off
using poisonous venom. After rainfalls,
the colony comes together, using the wet dirt to expand their nest. And when a disastrous flood
drowns their home, the sisters band together
into a massive living raft— carrying their queen to safety. But no matter how resilient, the life of a colony must come to an end. After about 8 years,
our queen runs out of sperm and can no longer replace dying workers. The nest’s population dwindles,
and eventually, they’re taken over
by a neighboring colony. Our queen’s reign is over,
but her genetic legacy lives on.