african bee

10

Buzz off! Lions’ snooze in the shade is ruined when they are attacked by a swarm of pesky bees (Photographer Andrew Forsyth)

This is the moment a sleepy pride of lions had their afternoon snooze in the shade interrupted by a furious swarm of bees.

The lions struggled to defend themselves when the insects launched an attack near a watering hole in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa. Despite their fierce reputation, the big cats were too slow to swat the angry bees away and become increasingly frustrated in the 40C heat.

The African bee is known to be more aggressive than European honey bees and while their sting is no more venomous, they usually attack in greater numbers and target more frequently. 

The pictures, captured by wildlife photographer Andrew Forsyth, 47, who likened the scenes to a boxing match.

He said: ‘It was like watching a contest between a lightweight and heavyweight boxer, with the lightweight just moving around scoring with little jabs that slowly wore the opponent down.’

He said the Kalahari lions were relatively easy to spot with daytime temperatures in excess of 40C.

'Lions spend much of their daytime sleeping so for wildlife photographers most our time with lions is spent waiting for something interesting to happen. The intervention of the bees provided some welcome entertainment, although the lions weren’t amused.’

During the process of photographing the animals, Mr Forsyth himself was stung by one of the bee.

Getting a buzz from African rock art

Helen Anderson is a cataloguer for the African rock art image project. Here she talks about some of her personal highlights.

‘I’ve been working on the African rock art image project for two years. It has been a real privilege to study the rock art of a continent from prehistory to the present and across a variety of landscapes and regions.

‘For me, one of the most interesting aspects of the project has been to think about rock art as part of the human story. This was made very apparent last year when the Museum became home to a colony of bees on the green roof of the new World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre. Depictions of bees, their nests and the harvesting of honey can be found at rock art sites across Africa, and shows that the human-bee relationship is very likely to be several thousands, if not tens of thousands of years old.

‘With the first representational art dating back 30,000 years in Africa, the rock art that I am cataloguing and researching is part of a much longer artistic tradition that resonates over millennia. Engravings and paintings of animals such as crocodiles, hippos and elephants in the Sahara are testament to an ancient watery environment. Cattle, sheep and goats point towards the development of a farming economy, moving herds from one fertile place to another.

‘Depictions of people engaged in activities such as hairdressing, wedding preparations, fighting and dancing provide insightful glimpses into the past lives of peoples who once inhabited this continent and who made their marks in the landscape.’

Image captions from top:

Beekeepers from the Urban Bee Project on the roof of the WCEC building.

Two sets of nested curves. The lower set of curves has black dots (maybe bees?) between curved lines. Drakensberg Mountains, South Africa. © TARA/David Coulson.

Painted roof of rock shelter showing decorated cows and human figures. Laas Geel, Somaliland. 2013,2034.15749. © TARA/David Coulson 

doesitcomeinpurple  asked:

The flame throwers are legal due to the risk of africanized honey bees, which are a risk to humans unlike regular honey bees. Also because wasps, hornets, yellowjackets ect pose an existential threat to humanity. It's not for human on human combat fyi.

Still, there’s nothing stopping someone from defending what he/she loves with one! 

Or pulling a Rorschach, depending on your stance in the political spectrum.

Bee Fact #518

Not all bees sting when threatened, mostly just European and American bees. Australian bees spontaneously explode, while South African bees emit noxious fumes.