Bellman Brown Bag Series: James Casper

Close Cooperation in a Society: Honeybees


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Join us for this month’s free Bellman Brown Bag Series on Wednesday, April 12 at noon in the Matthews Theater with speaker James Casper.

“Close Cooperation Within a Society” – Sounds Far-Fetched Doesn’t It! James Casper will draw on his decades of experience as a commercial beekeeper as he discusses the inner workings of one of nature’s most complex animal societies: The Honey Bee Colony: where normally only one queen bee exists in the company of 60,000 workers (females) and up to several thousand drones (males). She is the mother of all individuals in the colony and is a  very efficient producer of eggs but devoid of maternal instinct and physically incapable of caring for her young. The queen, along with her own genetic DNA, is also the custodian of the male parent’s contribution to the heredity of her female offspring and thus is responsible for the characteristics of the colony. Her presence controls the morale of the colony through the production and sharing of pheromones. The colony is a highly cooperative group where tasks are allocated so that more urgent needs are met before less urgent ones, and individual actions are coordinated into a coherent whole, resulting in a set of mechanisms that make close cooperation a reality.

About James Casper…

Since my childhood, I have been fascinated by the groupings of these mostly white and often tall stacks of boxes sitting picturesque against the background of fields full of colorful blossoms that filled the air with a certain sweetness. The bee hive was the center of my attraction. My interest was raised to a full pitch once I purchased my first two hives and the result was, well, I won’t lie. I became a full-fledged “Keeper of the Bees”. Forty-five or so years later and I still absolutely love the journey through the makings of a honey bee colony. Follow me and I will introduce you to the fascinating world of the honey bee.


About the Bellman Brown Bag Series…

The Bellman Brown Bag series is a humanities program designed to explore ideas, history, literature, art and culture. The Brown Bag program was developed by Dr. Stewart Bellman in the 1990’s. Recognizing the Matthews Opera House as an ideal venue for the exploration of humanities topics, he engaged a line-up of speakers to present programs on a range of humanities topics each month.

Dr. Bellman was a professor of English at Black Hills State University, Spearfish, SD. His teaching career spanned thirty years. Bellman retired from BHSU and passed away in November 2002.

Programs are presented on the second Wednesday of each month, noon to 1pm. Designed to begin and end within the lunch hour, patrons are invited to bring their lunch, if desired, or simply enjoy an hour of learning and entertainment.  This is an opportunity to gain insight into themes that touch our daily lives.


Coffee for the Bellman Brown Bag Series is generously provided by Common Grounds in Spearfish, SD.



Date and Time:


Wednesday, April 12, 2023


12:00 pm - 1:00 pm





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