Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Insect asides

A couple of insect related items caught my ear recently, courtesy of BBC radio.  The first concerned bees and one Huw Evans, an electronic engineer turned bee-keeper.  He has been recording the sound inside his hives and analysing it in an attempt to predict swarming.  He can also monitor the health of his bees in a non-invasive manner.  Looking inside the hives to check on the bees just upsets them, unsurprisingly, and has a negative effect on honey yield.  The full article, with audio clip, is at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-16114890

The piece of news was the recreation of the sound made by crickets 165 million years ago in the Jurassic period.  The radio piece gave us a few chirps but the on-line article at http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/16878292 is silent.   The researchers recreated the sound by examining a fossilised cricket. What is particularly interesting is that they believe they can use the sounds to make further assumptions about the other sounds in the forest.  This is because the insects would have to make their sound cut through the rest of the jungle noise to reach their prospective mate.

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