Learn About Honeybees

Learn About Honeybees

Posted by Lyle Konner on

A honeybee is an insect that flies and pollinates flowers and crops, living on nectar and pollen. They reach the nectar in a flower using a proboscis, which is a straw-like tongue. They carry the nectar back to the hive for honey creation. Meanwhile, they carry pollen from one blossom to another, pollinating them so the flowers/crops can create seeds and continue their cycle of life.

These insects can be found on all continents of the Earth, with the exception of Antarctica. The honeybee is very important to the human food supply. Without the proper pollination of plants, as much as one-third of our food supply would be lost.

A honeybee is a very social insect. They live in huge colonies, (up to 60,000 bees) which include a single queen, drones (male bees) and thousands of worker bees. Despite the large number of insects, a hive always works smoothly, as each insect has a job and does it continuously. There are basically 9 jobs in a bee colony. 1) Nurse and House bee - as soon as the bee hatches it immediately cleans out it's cell for the next egg and starts feeding the brood. 2) then the bee moves on to cleaning the hive. Remove dead bees and debris. 3) as the bee ages it can produce wax so starts to build honeycomb, cap pupae and honey cells. 4) Next the bee becomes a cleaner to clean bees as they return from foraging. This includes taking pollen and nectar from returning  foragers and putting this into cells. Duties also include fanning in the hive to reduce moisture to create the honey we eat. 5) The Queen is busy laying so needs Attendants. About 20 bees are selected to be constantly grooming and feeding the Queen. 6) The now mature bee develops a working stinger. She becomes a forager and goes out within a 3 mile radius of the hive to collect pollen and nectar. This is the last job a bee has as it works constantly during the day until eventually collapses and dies from exhaustion. 7) A Guard bee watches over the hive entrance. They allow foragers to come and go but keep all others out - wasps, bees from other hives and humans! 8) The Queen lays approximately 1500 eggs per day! She can live on average 3 years, She leaves the hive once for her mating flight shortly after she is born and another time if she leaves with a swarm. 9) Male bees are called DRONES. They do not make honey (they eat it). They do not rear the young or protect the hive. Their one function in life is to mate with queens flying in the "Drone Zone" and spread healthy genes! Any Drones left as winter approaches are kicked out of the hive to die. Food during winter is critical for survival.

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