back to article Bees with numberplates will soon be buzzing around London. Why?

Hundreds of bees with special number plates attached to their fuzzy abdomens will be released from the rooftops of Queen Mary University of London later today. The bumblebees are from bee colonies raised at the university and are part of a wider effort to step up conservation efforts in the London Pollinator Project. The …

  1. TRT Silver badge

    Is that 2 bee?

    Or not 2 bee?

    1. Fungus Bob Silver badge

      Re: Is that 2 bee?

      That's bee number 2 (he gets all the shit jobs).

    2. Notas Badoff

      Re: Is that 2 bee?

      Is this "To bee two bee shoo da" day?

      1. VinceH Silver badge

        Re: Is that 2 bee?

        "I am not a pencil, I am a free bee!"

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Is that 2 bee?

          My mistake. 221 bee was found on Baker Street. By using a magnifying glass. And a bee stalker hat.

  2. Dave 32


    You subtitle is wrong:

    "Scientists hope Big Smoke inhabitants will plant aphid-friendly flowers"

    Aphids are obnoxious little creatures that suck a plant's juices, often killing the plant. They're also referred to as plant lice.

    Perhaps you means "api-friendly"?


    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Aphid?!?

      While pedantry is on the go , I should point out that the number plate in the picture is on a fuzzy thorax not an abdomen.

      1. Commswonk Silver badge

        Re: Aphid?!?

        I should point out that the number plate in the picture is on a fuzzy thorax not an abdomen

        A dorsum rather than thorax, Shirley?

      2. Clive Harris

        Re: Thorax?

        An extract from a school biology essay I came across in my younger days.

        The body is divided into three parts, the Head, the Borax and the Abominable Cavity. The Head contains the brains and thinking parts. The Borax contains the lungs, the lights and the liver. The Abominable Cavity contains the vowels. There are five vowels; these are 'A', 'E', 'I', 'O', and 'U'.

        I don't think that student got very good marks.

        1. VinceH Silver badge

          Re: Thorax?

          "I don't think that student got very good marks."

          Quite right. It doesn't contain a U.

          1. O RLY

            Re: Thorax?

            Maybe the student was addressing the essay to John Cleese, who loved one carnally...



    2. stu_san

      Re: Aphid?!?

      Although, to be honest, the aphid-friendly sub-title did intrigue me enough to read the article. I wanted to know why bees with number plates require flowers that were friendly to aphids. Otherwise, bee tags (as someone else called them) made me say, "Meh." Just sayin'.

      1. Coen Dijkgraaf

        Re: Aphid?!?

        Or did they mean Apoidea-friendly? But that includes wasps in addition to bees.

  3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    I am not a number

    I am a free Bee

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: I am not a number

      Why do they need numbers - aren't they already bar-coded ?

  4. DNTP

    Bee story

    I spent a college year working on a study about bumblebee foraging patterns in a fragmented woodland in the Northeast USA. They are fascinatingly capable creatures. Bumblebees can navigate across open areas, including roads, parking lots, and railway lines, to foraging locations learned on previous visits, within feet of highly productive plant populations, even to the extent of individual tagged bees learning to specialize on specific species of flowers over the course of their careers as pollinators.

    I have also heard that coastal bumblebees will fly miles over open water to visit incredibly isolated plant populations on rocky islands, navigating via polarized sunlight or some similar mechanism.

    For the record, I handled several hundred individual bees that year, mostly capturing specimens and gluing tags onto them, and received zero stings. Foraging Bombus are completely non-aggressive, and can even be handled gently in the field (although they are delicate, so it is not recommended). People without specific allergies should not be afraid to get close to read a tag or take a picture.

  5. Sleep deprived

    Amazon money?

    Why not a real currency?

    1. Dadmin

      Re: Amazon money?

      Probably some sort of jungle-themed, pollinator tie-in

      Don't you have the kiosks at your local grocery store to turn gift cards into cashy paper monies? I see those everywhere now.

  6. Novex


    ...erisms. That is, these aren't so much number plates as bee tags. Somebody in science-land just wanted to have fun with pretending bees like tea :-)

  7. Harry the Bastard

    bees with frickin' LASERs!!!

    would be so much better

  8. Baldy50

    You lot aren’t going to beehave with this one so!

    To do is to bee– Nietzche

    To bee is to do– Sartre

    Do bee do bee do– Sinatra

    1. Captain DaFt

      Rooby dooby DOO! - Scooby Doo

  9. bozoid

    An old Tom Digby song comes to mind...

    So we got an expert genius and he rewrote all the programs

    But we always got results that looked like these:



    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: An old Tom Digby song comes to mind...

      Damnit, you beat me to it. Though I know it from its inclusion in a Larry Niven novel - A World Out Of Time.

      Have an upvote!

  10. Commswonk Silver badge

    Oh no not that, please...

    The number plates are there to view the pollinators as individuals, so that people can form an attachment to the bees

    And the next thing will be bereavement counsellors for when one's favourite bee expires. And bereavement leave, of course. Or should that be beereavement in both cases?

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken


      you could play some sort of bingo - which bee lands on which flower first or repeatedly, etc, etc.

    2. PNGuinn

      Re: Oh no not that, please...

      Shirley they have to have number plates so that they can be made to pay the Congestion Charge?

      Unless they are personally owned by HM that is ...

  11. Graham Marsden

    But how long...

    ... Before they start having to pay the Congestion Charge?

    1. Simon Harris Silver badge

      Re: But how long...

      Only the ones that suffer from hayfever.

      That must be a bugger if your one job is collecting pollen.

  12. nil0

    Type mismatch

    > Bees are fascinating subjects: they travel the distance of London’s congestion charging zone

    Does not compile:

    Line 703: Error C2440: cannot convert from 'const area' to 'distance'

    ========== Build: 0 succeeded, 1 failed, 0 up-to-date, 0 skipped ==========

  13. Captain DaFt


    Anybody get the number of the bee that stung me?

    1. Joe Werner


      Bumblebees are actually really relaxed. They are not aggressive at all.

      Bees are also relatively cool. I would still be a bit careful. If one stings you, it hurts a bit, but the poor thing dies as it cannot remove the stinger from your skin.

      The ones stinging and flying away are wasps. These are hunter-seekers and aggressive, sometimes overly so. Especially in late summer, when they no longer focus on protein rich food, but on sugars. My father-in-law had a nest above his bathroom window, but there were no problems at all. The wasps did not mind him looking out, cleaning the window etc. He was accepted as a moving part of the landscape, I guess...

      Hornets are really huge and make noise like a chopper. They actually eat wasps (and other insects smaller than them). They are not very aggressive, but a very impressive sight.

      I think all of these are really cool!

  14. Arachnoid

    Once again humans contaminating nature

    So these Bees are being released into an area already stabalised and popualted by nature to its best extent allowing for human pollution and excess for taking over naturally evolving areas. What effect will they have on the already established wildlife?

  15. Slx

    Just wait until the Brexit campaign gets a hold of this and makes a statement that the EU is insisting that all great British bees must now have number plates! (With little EU flags on the side).

  16. Mike 137

    Fantastic project but...

    Pity that the web site is just a heap of JavaScript pointing to about 30 different subdomains.

    Nobody with the slightest awareness of online security would go near this with JavaScript enabled, and it just doesn't work at all without.

    The most fundamental principle of the world wide web from the very start was endpoint agnosticism - the ability of any browser to get to the content, independent of presentation. I have no objection to bells and whistles - provided they are optional and don't prevent basic access to the content.

    Web developers who create sites like this do their clients a huge disservice - they deny the intelligent and infomed access to the content.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019