For those of you who have never seen it, Mastermind is a British TV show in which four contestants are tested on both their general knowledge and a chosen specialist subject. Thanks to Di Drinkwater for her post ‘Bees on Mastermind‘, which alerted me to the recent appearance of beekeeper Gill Taylor on the show, with the specialist subject of ‘The honey bee and beekeeping’. Gill is based in Airedale, West Yorkshire, and manages her local association’s website: airedalebka.org.uk. Viewers in the UK can catch the episode on iPlayer during the next couple of weeks.
Here’s the questions asked – answers further down…
1. The cells of the bees’ honey comb are constructed in which distinctive geometric shape?
2. What term derived from the latin for ‘little basket’ is used for the haired structure on the hind leg of a honey bee carrying pollen?
3. What astrological name is widely given to the shifting swarm-like formations of male bees in flight as they pursue the honey bee queen?
4. What item of beekeeping equipment is used to pursue the bees in a hive and typically incorporates a fire box and bellows?
5. What name is generally given to the crescent shaped dance performed by worker bees during foraging that represents an intermediate phase between the round dance and the waggle dance?
6. To what genus does the honey bee belong that includes a widely investigated species called Mellifera?
7. For what purpose does a beekeeper use a baldock or crown of thorns cage?
8. What is the common name of the British climbing plant Hedera helix, which provides the honey bee with a nectar source late in the year?
9. What is the name of the protein that consists of 26 amino acids and is the principal constituent of the honey bee’s venom?
10. What is the common name of the disease caused by the fungus Ascophaera apis, that results in a bee larva being transformed into a mummy of fungal spores?
11. Which deadly parasitic mite of honey bees now endemic in the UK includes the common Destructor species?
12. The honey bee Apis mellifera ligustica resident in the United Kingdom originates in which European country?
13. In the early 1850s which American clergyman and beekeeper identified the bee space in a hive, which enabled him to develop removable frame beekeeping?
14 The black honey bee Apis mellifera mellifera has been legally protected on the Hebridean island of Oronsay and which neighbouring island?
15. What sticky substance – also called bee glue or bee gum – is collected by bees from tree or plant resins and used for constructing and sealing their hives?
16. What name shared with the gland in the worker bees’ abdomen is given to the pheromone that includes nerol and geraniol, used for orientation, marking and guidance?
- Gill passed – the answer is Sickle dance
- To capture the queen
- Gill passed – the answer is Melittin
- Gill answered Sacbrood – the answer is Chalkbrood
- Gill passed – the answer is Colonsay
How many did you get right? When put on the spot it’s surprisingly hard to speedily recall answers – even to a subject you know well – so I think Gill did brilliantly to get her score of 12. She looked so calm and composed too! I can imagine her steadily at work amongst her bees, unruffled by any angry workers pinging off her veil.
Who won the show? Can mere mortals beat a beekeeper? You’ll have to watch it and find out.