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Do bees have a genetic memory?

 
Posts: 25
Location: Mont Clare, PA
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I have wild bees in my area, and for several years, every Spring, I have one or two visitors on my porch just when the weather begins to get warm.
I found this out while having tea with ( raw honey of course! Local of course!) Honey. This was 4 years ago.
The bee fell into my cup of warm tea, and thankfully rescued the little guy. Once he dried off, I gave him a small amount of tea (green) in a cap, so it wouldn't drown.
It was obviously thirsty! And since green tea has caffeine,  he was flying on a caffeine buzz!
I thought I would put about a half a tsp of the local, raw, unprocessed honey, in another cap. A friend was made!
In the fall, more bees came for honey, and within about 40 minutes, I had all of his buddies,  and my daughter woul not let me outside!
I learned that garlic repels bees, so, for my daughters sake, I sprinkled garlic powder all around the porch, and it was only after 2 years that a bee returned.
It could not have been from the original hive, so question:
Do bees have a genetic memory that is passed from generation to generation?
This bee was so friendly and walked all over my hands and face! So I gave it a little refreshment. I think I accidentally frightened it away, because it flew to close to a lit cigarette...and I do hope it returns.
Thoughts?
 
pollinator
Posts: 3114
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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Genetic Memory sounds so cool.

The bee that harvested honey/sugar from your house 2yrs ago was a worker bee and only the queen bee gets to have babies and pass on genetic material (Assuming it was a honey bee)

Bee, flies and mosquito visit me over and over. I don't think it is genetic material. I think I just give provide the stimulus that they are looking for and over 700days, the odds are likely that things will just repeat themselves.

But yes bees will rob honey stores, they do remember what honey and sugar smells like and if you or a flower or hive offer it, they will come for it. Some folks exploit this to catch a swarm.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2821
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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Not as you describe, but they will communicate locations of good forage to other bees using the waggle dance. But these are short term responses evolved to fit the changing patterns of nectar availability through the course of year.
 
Author & Beekeeper
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Margie,
Inasmuch as this information is not encoded in the bees' genetic code, calling what you describe a "genetic memory" would not be accurate. The bee's behaviors that may even look magical at first glance actually have some very good biological explanations (that are even more amazing than any mythical explanations humanity has come up with). I highly recommend the books by Dr Tom Seeley (in this order): Honeybee Democracy,  The Lives of Bees, and The Wisdom of the Hive - for a glimpse of how these biological mechanism work, while creating an impression that there is a "spirit of the hive".    
 
Margie Curtiss
Posts: 25
Location: Mont Clare, PA
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Thank you Leo! I will look these up!
 
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