Honey bees are a fascinating insect that have been cultivated and used by humans for centuries. There are many passages from the bible that speak about honey. Even before the bible, Egyptian tombs and pyramids would have traces of honey, propoplis, and bee pollen. Bee by-products have been beneficial to human health for many decades.
But, what’s it about these interesting creatures that differentiate them from other wasps and insects.
The honey bee, also called the Apis Mellifera, is a species of insects which have a fascinating chain of command and social system. It all starts with an egg, that the Queen puts to a fresh brood cell. These cells contain nutrients that the egg needs to further grow.
But, young bees are not alone, and you can find nurse bees who tend to these older ones, and feed them. The young worker bees develop very fast, and begin to cocoon themselves to get their final metamorphosis into an adult.
Worker bees have jaws that bite inward, particular smell sensors, eyes that could detect ultraviolet rays. It is these perceptions that allow bees to move in the shadow of the hive.
Once the worker has hatched she starts to function immediately. In 1 hive, there are about 30 000 worker bees, roughly 500 – 2000 drones, and one judgment Queen bee.
When the employee hatches out of her cocoon, she cleans the cocoon, and reseals it. For about three weeks she helps around in the hiveuterus, tending to other youthful eggs that are in cells. On the third week, she takes her first test flight at the entrance of the hive. After this flight is successful, she becomes a guard for the hive.
The employee also helps her elderly sisters in repairing damaged cells, pack pollen in cells to the young ones, and ripening nectar in particular cells.
The colony of bees is always buzzing 24 hours / 7 days per week.
In wild hives, once a colony gets too crowded, the present queen, and a bunch of worker bees fly outside and start a new hive. In domesticate hives, the beekeeper usually replaces the old queen with younger queen, so the colony stays strong and does not split.
Queen bees start their life very similar to worker bees. Worker bees and queen bees come from precisely the same egg. On the other hand, the one difference is that eggs from the royal cells are fed royal jelly, which makes the bees become Queen bees. There are typically 2 to 3 star bees “made” if the old queen has expired or is not laying enough eggs to the hive. Once these queen bees hatch, the new young queen will fight with the older one, before the queen is sufficiently weak.
All the while the worker bees are observing intently and as soon as they understand the victor, they sting and kill the poorer queen bee.
All that’s left now is for the new queen to mate with all the drones. After this mating ritual is finished, the queen can lay eggs for the remainder of her life, which is about 5 – 6 years. The typical lifetime of a worker is roughly 45 days.