Sunday, December 26, 2010

Shiny

Meet the IIVs or Iridoviridae family, the Insect Iridescent Viruses. One theory holds it responsible for colony collapse of honeybee hives, though other people are unconvinced. It turns insects iridescent when the virions crystallise within cells in a regular lattice with the right spacing to diffract light.

Wait a minute, that sounds familiar...

Oh, I see, the whole story is evidently made up around stories stolen from speculative fiction. This is a game that anyone can play.

Personally I am blaming the colony-collapse phenomenon on the Gothic Revival Virus, where the infected bees devote their labour to converting the honeycombs into filigrees and traceries and soaring archways of wax, which expresses their transcendental aspirations but fails the basic purpose of storing honey.

Hives affected by an outbreak of GRV

Which is not to rule out the possible involvement of Escher Tessellation virus.

Orbs have also been implicated, not to mention the being-run-over-by-drunken-hoons virus.

One particular IIV affects the New Zealand grassgrub, Costelytra zealandica, whereof I have some knowledge (due to a period 3 decades ago when I was hired by the Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries to analyse someone's grassgrub research data), as everyone at the Old Entomologist has discovered to their cost.

UPDATE: New Zealand bees prefer more of a Regionalist / realist aesthetic.
In comments, guitarist manqué informs us that "bees are suffering because we keep them in four sided boxes instead of the hexagons that the gods decreed for them." It is even worse if you keep them in five-sided boxes because to obtain 5-fold symmetry they have to pack the honeycombs with cells in the shape of Penrose tiles.

18 comments:

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I'll bet many pints went down the hatch during the grassgrub discussions.
~

Substance McGravitas said...

None of this compares to the Year 2000 fiasco when so many animals stopped working properly.

Smut Clyde said...

Many hours spent that New Years' morning rebooting the dairy herd.
Come to think of it, that's one excuse the Crafars haven't used.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Oh, I see, the whole story is evidently made up around stories stolen from speculative fiction. This is a game that anyone can play.

Oh, oh, oh- I blame colony collapse disorder on a population of giant, rugose, iridescent cones exchanging minds en masse with bees and going out collecting esoteric lore instead of nectar.

77south said...

I spent the last months of 1999 replacing and updating the BIOS of hundreds of adelie penguins, wedell seals, skuas, and other assorted Antarctic wildlife. They were not, generally speaking, cooperative.

Another Kiwi said...

See now, wetas would be grateful. I don't want to make aspersions about vertebrates or nuthin"

Smut Clyde said...

the grassgrub discussions

Let me tell you about the crucial ingredient in the 'special tequila'.

guitarist manqué said...

As the resident apicultor here let me tell you about the number of nut-job theories I have to listen to about CCD. My favorite for high value nuttiness is that bees are suffering because we keep them in four sided boxes instead of the hexagons that the gods decreed for them. Oddly enough the feller that promotes this is having a hard time keeping his bees alive.

Another Kiwi said...

Guitarist, do you have a link for that theory? Mrs. Kiwi wishes to share it with a beekeeper friend of ours.

guitarist manqué said...

If I had a link for every whacko theory I get treated to I'd have chains like old Marley. The guy's in the Hudson Valley in NY, there was an article in the Times but it must be many layers deep, I couldn't find it. There's a variant of the theory that uses top-bar hives shaped like hexagons (delivered to your garden for US$400 per summer removed in the fall so the bees can die in privacy).

guitarist manqué said...

I think this is one of the lunatics in question.

http://www.hexhive.com/our-story/

Another Kiwi said...

Thanks very much. We will spread the Good News

guitarist manqué said...

For the curious, here's some of what it looks like at my place.

http://imgur.com/iJvvr

http://imgur.com/AgIet

http://imgur.com/NGP2E

Showing why rectangularity helps. The third image is from the top of the loaded truck, somehow sunrises always look different from up there.

Substance McGravitas said...

Neato! Can you train them all to attack at once? Asking for a friend.

guitarist manqué said...

Can you train them all to attack at once?

I was with an older beekeeper with a flatbed full of bees (un-netted) at an early morning gas station when this feller he'd never got along with came up, surveyed the load and said "So Norman, taking some trash to the dump?"

Without replying Norman just pounded on the nearest box whereupon the bees issued forth to punish his questioner.

Another Kiwi said...

Don't josh a man with a truck load of bees is all I'm sayin'

Smut Clyde said...

Fly, my pretties!!

mikey said...

Wow.

If I had some trained bees and a few angry Wetas do you REALIZE how many more days I would have lived in freedom, with the blue skies above me and the earth on my shoes, or something something something?

It seems that weapons are not all equal, and there are times when a man can unleash nature rather than technology. I am intrigued.

Whaddaya got for earthworms?