The Magical Creature That Is A Bee

The Bee-uty of Bees

Buzz..Buzz..Buzz...It is that time of year again when the weather warms up and the world comes alive. This is the beauty within the bees.


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"According to all known laws of aviation, there is no way a bee should be able to fly. Its wings are too small to get its fat little body off the ground. The bee, of course, flies anyway, because bees don't care what humans think is impossible." While this quote is infamous from the Bee movie released in 2007, the information released in the quote is wrong. Bees are vital magnificent insects that many fear without realizing their importance. According to a study in 2005 by D. L. Altshuler, a professor of Zoology at the University of British Columbia, honeybees hover with a low stroke amplitude and high wingbeat frequency. They beat their wings about 230 times a minute. This study shows exactly how extraordinary bees truly are.

Many people do not understand just how magnificent bees truly are. There are over 20,000 species of bees located across the world. The most common misconception is that wasps are considered bees. While they are relatively close within their classification, their behavior, feeding habits, physical differences and habitat clearly distinguish the difference between the two. There are over 20,000 species of bees. Certain species of bees die after stinging because their stingers are attached to their abdomen. The stingers have hooks that keep it stuck in the skin. When this type of bee tries to fly away after stinging part of the abdomen is ripped away. As the fertile female in the colony, the queen lays up to 2,000 eggs a day and can live for 1-3 years. The male bees in the hive are drones. They live during the spring and summer months and sole purpose is reproduction with a new queen. In an experiment completed by Olli J. Loukola and his fellow researches, bees were able to transfer a small ball to a defined location in return for a reward. This goes to show just how intelligent they are and proving that this intelligent insect is vital.


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Most people do not understand the importance of bees in our ecosystem. Through pollination, bees help with the growth of plants and crops and in return produce a high demanded item: honey. Production of honey allows for an income for many. Pollinators affect 35 percent of global agriculture production. This yields a total price tag of $235 to $577 million US dollars. Without the pollination of bees, we would lose crops such as grapes, tomatoes, broccoli, beets, coffee, strawberries and alfalfa to name a few. Bees must visit about two million flowers to make a one-pound jar of honey. In 2017, 1.47 million pounds of honey were produced from 2.6 million honey-producing colonies. They are important for the production of wax products such as candles, cosmetics, and crafts. Hobbyists and part-time bookkeeper account for roughly 40 percent of the honey production, and 1,600 commercial beekeepers are responsible for the remaining 60 percent of production. Since most of the production occurs within a very minute amount of beekeepers, there is a growing concern of as the population of bees continues to decline.

Over 40% of the bee colonies in the US have suffered Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). CCD is a phenomenon that occurs when the majority of worker bees in a colony disappear and leave behind a queen, plenty of food and a few nurse bees to care for the remaining immature bees and the queen. Parasite varroa mites are attacking bees, draining them of their fluids and creating an open gateway for a virus to seep in. Due to the increasing number of one-crop fields, bees aren't getting the best nutrition. Commercial agriculture is also a huge problem as farmers are using a harsh chemical to keep pests from destroying their crops. However, chemicals like clothianidin, which was banned by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), and imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam are all chemicals that have been linked to bee death and collapsion of colonies, yet there are still being used in the United States.

These are a few solutions that people are taking. Many are using natural root killers and pesticide killers. While many note that it isn't always as efficient, it is certainly better than accidentally killing an entire hive. Those who advocate for bee preservation encourage gardeners and everyone to garden plants like Lavender, White Clover, Heather, Forget-Me-Nots, English Daisies, and California Lilacs. Buying local honey allows beekeepers to continue their job and lifestyle. It also ensures that the bees are being cared for properly and it is safer than obtaining honey from large corporations who typically add preservatives and chemicals. It is healthier for both species in the long run!


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Bees are vital magnificent insects that many fear and kill without realizing their importance. With the commercial loss of honeybees since 2006 in the United States has reached over 40%, it is important to understand the ever growing situation that will impact every single person on the planet.


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Resources:

12 Surprisingly Interesting Facts about Bees. (n.d.). Retrieved April 20, 2019, from https://beehealth.bayer.us/learn-about-bee-health/bee-health-101/bee-facts

Altshuler, D. L., Dickson, W. B., Vance, J. T., Roberts, S. P., & Dickinson, M. H. (2005). Short-amplitude high-frequency wing strokes determine the aerodynamics of honeybee flight. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 102(50), 18213-18218. doi:10.1073/pnas.0506590102

Bees. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.agmrc.org/commodities-products/livestock/bees-profile

Eubanks, W. E. (2018, October 04). The Bee Population Decline: 10 Facts and Dangers. Retrieved from https://www.greenandgrowing.org/bee-population-decline-facts/

Loukola, O. J., Perry, C. J., Coscos, L., & Chittka, L. (2017). Bumblebees show cognitive flexibility by improving on an observed complex behavior. Science, 355(6327), 833-836. doi:10.1126/science.aag2360

Sarich, C. (2013, August 15). List of Foods We Will Lose if We Don't Save the Bees. Retrieved from https://honeylove.org/list-of-food/

G. (n.d.). Situation. Retrieved from http://sos-bees.org/situation/

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20 Of The Coolest Animal Species In The World

Animals that almost seem imaginary.
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The world is full of amazing animals. So amazing, that narrowing them down to 20 felt nearly impossible. To determine who made the cut for this list, I used very important factors such as, cuteness and how much some of them looked like Pokémon . I know, very official. So here are some of the coolest animals in the world.

1. Pink Fairy Armadillo

The pink fairy armadillo is the smallest and cutest species of armadillo. It is on the list of threatened species and is found in the sandy plains, dunes, and grasslands of Argentina. The pink fairy armadillo is a nocturnal creature that survives mostly on insects and plants.


2. Okapi

The okapi is an animal native to the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. Although the stripes make many people believe okapi are related to zebra, they are actually closer to giraffe. Okapi are solitary creatures and come together to breed. They are herbivores, mostly eating leaves, grass, and other plants.


3. Glaucus Atlanticus or "the Blue Dragon"

These little dragon-like creatures are often only about a few inches long and can be found in the Indian Pacific Oceans. The blue dragon floats upside down in order to blend the blue side of them with the water, and the silver side with the surface of the ocean. This tiny dragon feeds on creatures like the man o' war and can even deliver a sting similar to it.


4. The Maned Wolf

The maned wolf is often found in the grasslands of south, central-west, and southeastern parts of Brazil. It is neither related to wolves nor foxes despite its appearance and name, but is actually closer to dogs. The maned wolf hunts alone and primarily eats both meat and plants (about 50% of its diet).


5. Fossa

The fossa is a carnivorous animal located in Madagascar. Despite having many traits similar to cats, it is more closely related to the Mongoose. The fossa is only found in forest habitats and can hunt in either daytime or night. Over 50 percent of its diet happens to be lemurs.


6. Japanese Spider Crab

As the name suggestions, the Japanese spider crab inhabits the waters surrounding Japan. In many parts of Japan, this crab can be considered a delicacy but can be considerably difficult to catch. The Japanese spider crab can grow to 12 feet long from claw to claw. There is only one sea creature-- amongst similar species (aka crustaceans)-- that beats the weight of a Japanese spider crab: the American Lobster.


7. Pacu Fish

Look closely at the teeth, do they look familiar? This fish is found in the waters of South America. This fish, while related to the piranha, can actually grow much larger. They can also be found in rivers like the Amazon and is an aid to the fishing industry. Unlike the piranha, pacu mostly only eat seeds and nuts, though can still create nasty injuries to other animals if need be.


8. Slow Loris

The slow loris is a nocturnal creature found in Southeast Asia. While very adorable, the loris's teeth are actually quite venomous. The toxin on their teeth can also be applied to fur through grooming to protect its babies from predators. Often times these creatures forage and spend time alone, although can on occasion be seen with other slow lorises. Apart from their toxic teeth, the slow lorises have another defense mechanism, in which they move nearly completely silently in order to prevent discovery.


9. Angora Rabbit

These cute, fluffy rabbits are among the hairiest breeds of rabbit of both wild and domestic types. These rabbits originated in Turkey although managed to spread throughout Europe and was even brought to the United States in the 20th century. These rabbits are often bred for their soft wool which can be made into clothing, and often get rid of their own coats every 3-4 months.


10. Axolotl

The axolotl or "Mexican salamander" (who looks like a Pokémon , if you ask me) is often spotted in lakes in various places around Mexico. These little salamanders are amphibious although often spend their adult lives strictly in the water. However, the population of these cute creatures is dwindling due to non-native predators and the continued urbanization of Mexico. The axolotl eats small worms, insects, and fish in order to survive.


11. Liger

The liger, however made up it sounds, is a real (and cute) animal created by a lion and a tiger mating. Ligers only seem to exist in captivity or zoos because the lion and tiger don't share the same habitat in the wild. Unfortunately, these animals don't live very long or are sterile despite being bigger than both the lion and the tiger. While these animals are cool and unique, they are not strictly natural or sustainable.


12. Bearded Vulture

I don't know about you all, but this vulture reminds me of a phoenix which was initially why I looked into the creature. These vultures inhabit a range of places from southern Europe to the Indian subcontinent, to Tibet. This vulture, like other vultures, typically eats dead animals, although it has been documented that the bearded vulture will attack live prey more often than other vultures.


13. Goblin Shark


This unusual shark is also known as a "living fossil" because they are the last representative of sharks that lived about 125 million years ago. It is a deep sea shark that can grow between 10-13 feet if not longer. The goblin shark has been caught accidentally in every major ocean. The goblin shark is not a fast swimmer and relies on ambushing its prey.


14. Red Panda

This cute, small panda lives in the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. The red panda is rather small, only about the same size as most domestic cats. Its eating habits range from bamboo, to eggs, to insects, and several other small mammals. The red panda is primarily sedentary during the day and at night or in the morning does whatever hunting it needs to do.


15. Blobfish

This blobfish is, in a way, so ugly that it is cute (although reminds me of a certain Pokémon ) This fish lives in the deep waters of Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. The blobfish has a density only sightly above that of water. The fish primarily hunts by just floating along and letting creatures wander into its mouth, rather than expending any energy.


16. Leaf Deer

The leaf deer is usually found in dense forests in the northwest region of Putao. The adult leaf deer only stands at about 20 inches high and the males and females are nearly identical except for an inch long horn on the males. It is called a leaf deer because hunters could wrap the deer in a single large leaf.


17. Tiger

While tigers are a more common animal than many others on this list, it is still one of the coolest animals in the world. Tigers are the largest of all cats and once ranged from Russia, to Turkey, to parts of Asia — almost all over the world. These animals are fierce, powerful creatures, although they are on the endangered species list.


18. Narwhals

Narwhals are a species of whale that live in the waters around Greenland, Canada, and Russia. The narwhal's diet changes depending on the time of year: in the spring the narwhal will eat cod, while in the winter the narwhal will eat flatfish. Narwhals can live up to 50 years and most frequently die of suffocation from being trapped under the ice.


19. Cheetah

Cheetahs, while more commonly heard of then some of the other animals on this list, are still incredibly cool. They often inhabit many parts of Africa and Iran. These amazing cats can reach up to 60 miles per hour in three seconds and use their tails to make quick and sudden turns. These amazing cats also have semi-retractable claws which helps with speed. The cheetah, however, doesn't have much besides speed to defend itself.


And finally....


20. Superb Bird of Paradise

This GIF demonstrates the mating dance used by male superb birds of paradise. Typically females reject about 20 mates before selecting one they want to mate with. They are often found in New Guinea although it is unsure just how many of these birds there are. As far as scientists know, the population has remained stable.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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The Reality Of Cat Shows

Go in with an open mind, because cat shows may seem totally bizarre, but are incredibly fun and special.

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As a self-declared cat lady, when I decided to attend my first cat show I was hyped to pet all the kitties, and watch them do tricks, or show off their beauty. After attending a few, I know they're totally unique and amazing events that everyone should be attending.

Upon arriving, you will probably need to pay an entry fee, and maybe there's an area for donations for local animal shelters (yes, animal breeders support animal shelters!). You might be overwhelmed with the sheer amount of cats, as far as the eye can see. Having a game plan of cats to visit might seem fun, but just roaming and visiting is a lot more fulfilling, and you may discover breeds of cats you never knew you would love. Usually, cat shows will feature visiting areas for guests attending the show to view, and sometimes pet, the cats. As well as areas where cats are judged and given awards, sort of like miniature stages.

Visitor areas are pretty self-explanatory as you can roam around and look at the dozens of different breeds, of kittens and cats alike. The diversity will amaze you and the cats are all special and loved by their owner. Because cats can catch sicknesses while surrounded by so many other cats, it's important to sanitize your hands before petting, as well as asking the owner if you can pet their cat or kitten. Some may even let you hold their cat, but this would be rare and you shouldn't get your hopes up! While viewing cats, you may find some that are up for adoption and could find a new family member. Some cats are actually people's household pets, and are scored differently from a cat who was bred for its looks!

The competition side is where the cat shows get interesting. You can view any and all competitions, although there will be many occurring at a time. That's because cats will initially be ranked against the cats of the same breed as them, and within those breeds, by gender and color style. Winning best in the breed is the first step to becoming the champion of a cat show. Watch as owners get nervous and excited as the tiny plastic awards go up, showing which cat was victorious. Although all judges can be different, it's fun to see beautiful and friendly cats win awards and look pleased with themselves as their owner smiles with pride.

Later in the day or weekend, one cat will be chosen as the grand champion out of the best in breeds. Usually, fans can vote on their favorite as well, and award a special cat a top prize, although unofficial, for its cuteness and spirit. A hairless cat has won fan favorite at every show I attended!

Go in with an open mind, because cat shows may seem totally bizarre, but are incredibly fun and special. The group of people who participate will love to tell you about their amazing cat and let you in on cat show secrets. A place where cat lovers unite, what could be better?

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