Make your own free website on Tripod.com
  Bees

              A colony of bees, sometimes referred to as a hive, consists of one queen, a few hundred drones, and at least several thousand or more workers. They make their home in any hollow space they can find, such as hollow logs. When bees are kept by commercial beekeepers, they are often kept in wooden structure to make management of the colony, and harvesting of honey easier.

Images With desciptions will go here. You will need to put your cursor over here to read this.



  The Queen

              The queen’s only purpose is to lay eggs. She is virtually an egg-laying machine. She can lay up to 2000 eggs a day. Even working twenty-four hours per day, that works out to about one egg every 40 seconds. At this rate, she has no time for anything else. She can’t even feed herself; the workers must feed her.
              She can live for two or more years. When she dies or stops laying, she is quickly replaced by the hive. If she’s not replaced, the whole colony will eventually die.
              The queen can be identified by her size; she is much bigger than a worker is. The queen has a stinger, but seldomly uses it. She only uses it when fighting another queen or killing unborn queens. Because of this, her stinger has no barbs and can sting without losing her stinger. It is very rare for a beekeeper to get stung by a queen, even when handling her very aggressively.

Images With desciptions will go here. You will need to put your cursor over here to read this.



  The drones

              Drones are the male bees. They cannot sting because they have no stinger. They don’t do any work; the workers take care of them.
              There can be several hundred in a hive. Drones may live a few months in the summer, but the workers kick them out of the hive in the fall and let them die.
              The drones’ only purpose is to mate with the queen. After he mating, he dies.

Images With desciptions will go here. You will need to put your cursor over here to read this.



  The workers

              The worker is the bee most people are familiar with. This is the bee that stings. This is the bee that makes honey.
              There can be a quarter million or more in a large colony. The worker is an infertile female. The worker bee does all the work.
              When she first hatches out, her first duty is to nurse the queen. She feeds her, protects her, and follows her around the hive. If she’s not tending to the queen, she’s busy cleaning the cells.
              She polishes the inside of the cells with her tongue, making them ready for the queen to lay eggs.
              She builds the cells of the honeycomb with wax, a secretion from special glands on their abdomens.
              She makes royal jelly; this is food for the larva.
              As she gets older, she graduates to guard duty at the hive entrance. Workers will defend the hive if needed. To do this, they sting. The stinger is barbed, so once it stings, the stinger along with the poison sack, get pulled out of the bee as she tries to get away. This wound will soon kill her.
              At the entrance, she receives nectar that older workers bring to the hive. She takes the nectar and puts it in one of the cells of the honeycomb. Nectar is 70% water. It has to be dried to around 17% water to be honey. The workers dry the nectar by keeping it warm (92 degrees F in a hive.) and fanning it with their wings. Once the honey is dried, the cells are capped over with wax so moisture does not get into it. This honey is stored for the winter.
              The last stage of her life is forging for nectar and pollen. Workers collect pollen for food; it’s high in protein. Pollen sticks to the bee’s legs while getting the nectar from the flower. When a bee goes to another flower, some pollen comes off, and that is what a lot of plants depend on for pollination.
              She also collects propolis. Propolis is bee-glue; it’s a sticky resin that seeps from the buds of some trees and oozes from the bark of other trees, particularly conifers. Workers mix this with flakes of wax, and use this to plug any holes in the hive. They mainly use this for keeping cold weather from getting in.
              Workers only live for a little over a month; they literally work themselves to death.

Images With desciptions will go here. You will need to put your cursor over here to read this.



  Swarming

              When the colony gets crowded and runs out of room to expand, they will swarm. Swarming is the bee’s natural way to reproduce. They produce one or more new queens, and the new queen/queens and half of the worker population leave to find a new home.
              Once a new home is established, if there is more than one queen, they will fight to the death. Only one queen is allowed in a colony.

Images With desciptions will go here. You will need to put your cursor over here to read this.



  Making a queen

              If a queen dies, she will have to be replaced. If she stops laying eggs, the workers will kill her. Enlarging a worker cell with an egg in it, and feeding it more royal jelly can produce a new queen. In fact, the only difference between a worker and a queen, is the amount of royal jelly fed to it in the larval stage.
              Workers secrete royal jelly from a gland on the head. This is the food fed to a larva for the first 2-3 days. A queen, however, is fed royal jelly for her entire life.
              A queen will hatch in 16 days from egg to adult, a worker in 21, and a drone takes 24. If there are multiple queen cells, the first to hatch will kill the others before they can hatch. If she misses any, they then fight to the death.
              Two to three days after hatching, she mates with a drone. Mating is done in flight, so weather is a crucial factor. After mating, the drone dies, and the queen is then fertile for the rest of her life. She never has to mate again.

Images With desciptions will go here. You will need to put your cursor over here to read this.



  Header

              Bees have been around for 10 to 20 million years, and humans have gathered their honey for nearly ten thousand years. Today honeybees are a major agricultural industry that produces honey, beeswax, and pollen. Pollination is a factor that farmers heavily depend on.

Images With desciptions will go here. You will need to put your cursor over here to read this.