Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Basic Honeybee Duties

A bee hive looks pretty simple from the outside. But on the inside it's like a factory with everyone hard at work. All the bees have different responsibility to manage everything correctly. These duties are placed by bees age. All bees in a colony are female except for the drones.

Drone bee
A male bee that has NO stinger. They are a bit bigger than the female bees and their only duty is to mate with virgin queens in the ares. A bees working area is roughly 2 1/2 miles from the hive. As the summer months move closer to the fall the females boot the drones out of the hive. This is because the drones like to eat but don't help bring in any food. So they need to go so the bees can build up food stores for winter months.

Nursing bee
The young bees that are between 1 day and 2 weeks old are called nursing bees. These young bees have lots to do from cleaning the hives, feeding larva, build wax cells, and making honey. As the older bees (foraging bees) bring in a load of nectar they pass it to the nursing bees to place it in the comb.

As the nurse bees reach the 2 week mark there are promoted to a higher duty. If the inside of the hive is to hot her first duty is to fan the hive with her wings. When bees fan they put there butts in the air and their front quarters down as if they were getting ready to race. Then they begin fanning the hive. When they fan their wings flap over 183 time a second. You would be surprised how much air they can move this way.

Guard bee
Next they move to a guard bee. Guard bees stand outside the hive around the entrance. These bees recognize there house mates by scent and will attack any bee or insect that's not familiar to them. When bees sting they let off a alarm pheromone from a gland close to the stinger. This is what draws more bees to help attack and defend the colony. This scent is similar to the smell of bananas.

Forager bee
These are the bees we see out and about. Flying around foraging flowers in fields, garden, and orchards. They are in search of nectar, pollen, water, and propolis (bee glue).  This is the stage the bee will die in. A bee will live to about 6 weeks old.

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