Naked Scientists Podcast

Naked Scientists episode

Sat, 5th Jun 2010

Creatures in Colonies

Bee collecting pollen at the Del Mar fairgrounds (c) Jon Sullivan

The science of social species goes under the microscope this week. We hear what radio-tagging individual ants is revealing about the way they organise their nests to decide who goes hunting and who stays at home. Meera explores the growth of urban apiculture, including why city-made honey tastes superior to its countryside equivalent, we find out how bees encountering hostility use a stop signal to deter their fellow foragers from befalling the same fate, and in Kitchen Science we explore the physics of flight to see how bees stay airborne. Plus why not cleaning your teeth could cause a heart attack, how early humans eschewed vegetarianism, mongooses that teach each other nut-cracking tricks and how to give a reef a coral transplant!

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 15:15 - The Hive Mind - How Ants Know Their Place

    Itís an incredibly complicated world inside an ant colony, with different types of ant doing lots of different jobs. But how does an ant know what role to take? Dr Elva Robinson explains more...

  • 22:35 - Urban Beekeeping

    Increasingly, people are keeping bees in crowded urban environments - Meera Senthilingam caught up with Alison Benjamin, from to find out how bees cope with living in the city...

  • 29:29 - Do animals really learn from one another?

    I'm not so convinced by the mongoose experiment. What do young do if they've never watched an adult? I'm rather inclined to think that these things come to wild creatures entirely by natural instincts.

  • 30:28 - Ready, Steady, Stop!

    We talk to James Nieh about the warning signals used by bees to stop their colonies from entering harmful areas...

  • 39:45 - Can Bees Fly? - Insect Aerodynamics

    There is an urban myth that 'science' says that a bee can't fly - so we thought we should look into it. You can try too with just a pond and your hand...

  • 46:30 - Why do some species have thousands of sterile individuals?

    If the point of reproduction is to pass your DNA to the next generation, why do some organisms such as ants, bees, or termites produce thousands of† individuals that have no chance of reproducing? This seems to me to be a terrible waste energy. The queen basically becomes a h...



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