Posted on May 3, 2019, 8:17 PM IST
Extraordinary Life of Honey Bee
Out of nearly 20,000 known varieties of bees, honey bees are the dearest. Honey bees are known for building highly sophisticated nests. In parlance, a bee is often referred to as a hive but in literal terms it is not so. A hive is actually man made whereas nests are built by the honey bees. The bees fiercely guard and protect the Queen bee, who is the mother of most of the bees in the nest.
Keeping in mind the intricate order and design of the nest, each honeybee has a special duty to discharge. What might come to our mind is that the system for delegating all these duties to the honey bees must be a very cumbersome process, but the bee brain is just the size of a sesame seed.The honey bees are born with their skill set and work ethic already engraved inside them. The biggest deciding factor, for a honey bee’s job is its gender.
Male bees simply lounge around and wait for an opportunity to mate, their entire lives. When the situation demands they compete with each other to mate with the queen bee. The most eligible suitor, who gets to do that, eventually ends up falling and dyeing after the work is done. The Queen bee mates with nearly twenty male bees. The male bees or drones constitute nearly 10 percent of the nest’s population.
The remaining population is held by the female bees who are the real workers of the nest. Some of them guide the hive, nurse the bees and do anything that is required to keep the nest functioning smoothly. The gender of a bee is not entirely nature’s call as the queen bee has the power to decide the gender of the bee. The queen bee lays up to 1500 eggs per and she does that incessantly for two to five years. The Queen bee then designates the gender depending on her desire to cultivate either worker bees or drones.
Talking about female bees, it takes nearly 21 days for a bee to emerge out of her larval state. On the 21st day, she turns into an adult bee and starts cleaning her cell first. Three days prior that, her hormones turn her into a nurse too look after the young. The honey bees are very attached to their nests and their instincts are greatly affected by the requirements of the hive. After the bee has finished with her nursing duties, she shall move away from the centre of the hive and start building more cells and storing food for the fellow bees. As the bee nears her 41st day, she is almost sitting at the periphery of her own death. The old bees start foraging because that is the most dangerous and demanding job. The nectar and pollen is collected from the blooming plants and used for creation of bee.
The bee, senses her impending death and thus removes herself from the hive. If she doesn’t, the younger bees remove her corpse, so that the work doesn’t stop.