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The Honeybee Colony as a Teacher

With his statement “The acquisition of wax and honey is not the main purpose of beekeeping, […]. The main purpose is the pollination of flowers and the encouragement of higher yields.  The state ought to maintain an army of bees.”, Christian Conrad Sprengel (1750-1816) became the founder of modern flower biology.  He was the first to understand the function of bees and other insects in the pollination process.  Unfortunately, his achievements weren’t recognized during his lifetime.  Until the 19th century the idea of self-pollination was still wide spread (SPÜRGIN 1996).

Until this day, only a minority of people has truly understood the work that honeybees perform every day.  Each third bite of food we ingest depends either directly or indirectly on pollination by bees.

But not only the overwhelming biological significance of honeybees for ecosystems and for agriculture makes the honeybee the model organism for communicating important insights.  Its highly complex lifestyle is suited for an introduction into the complexity of life processes and the correlation between the environment and reactions of organisms that are exposed to its impact.

Latest News:

05/30/2016

Column of Juergen Tautz: Bees as pest controllers

Wherever bees fly, caterpillars are severely disturbed, eating up to 70 percent less leaf mass in those areas.

05/22/2016

Column of Juergen Tautz: Observation hives – Windows into life inside a bee colony

The large majority of our honeybees’ lives takes place in secret. Bustling air traffic can be observed throughout the day at the...

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