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The Buzz On Bees

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What's the Buzz on Bees?

The honey bee was introduced into the United States in Colonial America. Honey bees are social insects. They share information about directions to areas of nectar and pollen. Bees make honeycombs of wax which are hexagonal in shape and placed side by side. They provide spaces to raise new bees and store honey. The bee colony lives on the stored honey throughout winters, and therefore, can live for years. Bees live in groups called colonies. Beehives are very crowded, with ten to sixty thousand in a hive. There are three types of honeybees, each with an important job in the hive. The biggest one of the bees, meaning the ranking, is the queen. The next would be the drones and then the worker bees. Some of the jobs in the hive are easier than others.

The queen is the center of the hive; she is also the largest bee. She is the mother to all the other bees in the hive. Her body is specially formed to lay eggs so that the eggs can be placed a little above the center of the honeycomb. Before her eggs go to that spot she inspects them herself to make sure it is properly cleaned by the workers. The queen is blessed with a stinger that is short and curved allowing her to sying many times with out ripping out her stinger which will allow her to stay alive, unlike the worker bee. When it comes to the time when a new queen is needed, the extra royal jelly is fed to the larvae, and the first young queen to come out will become the new queen. This new queen before becoming a queen must destroy all the other developing queens and then set out on her mating flight after five to twelve days in the hive. After she has mated she will return to the hive, and by now the other queen will have gone with a swarm of bees. Now she must lay an egg every minute every day and night. She will never feel lonely because she will be surrounded by worker bees that will groom and feed her all the time. When colony populations are high, the queen may move part of the colony to new harborage. Bees swarm at this time, usually finding hollow trees to begin their new colony.

Worker bees, which are the smallest bees in the colony, are undeveloped, infertile females. A colony can have up to 60,000 workers and they take up most of the hive. The life span of a worker bee depends upon the time of year. Their life expectancy can be as long as 35 days. There body is built to hold pollen, the main section of the hind pair of legs has special spines. The center legs are the bees' main support. The job of the worker bee is to collect pollen, clean and maintain the hive, and let's not forget about taking care of the queen. A worker bee has ultraviolet vision which allows it to see patterns on flower petals which attract the workers to them. The way they transfer the pollen is by first licking it with their tongue and mandibles. Then the pollen is transported to the hind legs until the bee enters the hive. Once the bee is in the hive it gives the nectar to another worker bee. That worker bee gives the honey to another bee called a house bee. The house bee stores the nectar in a honeycomb. She then fans the honey with her wings to evaporate most of the water from it. That is why honey is not runny. Workers feed the



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