Bees are social flying insects. They are closely related to wasps and ants. They live in colonies which has one queen, some drones and many worker bees. Each of them have different task. Some worker bees will have the task of feeding the queen bee and the hundreds of larvae with nectar and pollen. Other worker bees will have to play the role as a security guard at the entrance of the colony’s home which is the hive. We can see that bees are very hard working organised insects. The bees which sting are the worker bees.
Bees feed on nectar and pollen. Most pollen are given to the larvae as a source of food. They live in a hive which is dark inside. They are almost deaf. Therefore, they depend greatly on the sense of touch as communication. The buzzing noise which they make come from the sound of the beating of their wings.
Bees have a long complex tongue which they use to extract the nectar from flowers. They have antennae made up of 13 segments in male and 12 in females. All of them have 2 pairs of wings. The back wings are smaller compared to the front ones.
The smallest bee is Trigona Minima, a stingless bee whose workers are only 2.1mm long. The largest bee in the world is Megachile Pluto which is a leafcutter bee. A female Megachile Pluto will be about 39mm. The bee-eater bird loves to eat bees. Their other predators are kingbirds, mockingbirds, beewolves and dragonflies. Insecticides used on flowering plants can also kill them.
We need bees to pollinate the flowering plants. They are a major pollinator in our ecosystem. They can focus on gathering nectar which is a sweet liquid in the centre of a flower or they can collect pollen depending on the demand. Bees which gather nectar may also pollinate the plants, but bees which main focus are on gathering pollen are more efficient pollinators. About one third of our food depends on insect pollination.
What is pollination? Pollination happens when the bee brushes against the yellow powder of a flower. This yellow powder is called pollen. Pollen sticks to the bee’s hairy legs and body before it flies to another flower. Pollen from the first flowers gets mixed with another flower. Pollen from the first flowers get mixed with another pollen in the second flower. This keeps happening when the bees fly from one flower to another flower. The mixed pollen will lead to the production of seeds and fruits. This whole process is what we called pollination.
Worker bees which collect nectar will take the nectar to the hive and fill the wax cells of the comb with nectar. Then they will seal the top of each full cell with wax lid. You can find nectar which becomes honey inside the cell.
A honey bee queen may lay 2000 eggs per day during spring. She never leaves her eggs. From each bee eggs, a larva is hatched and put into a comb cell. Worker bees will start to feed a two day old larva with special food called royal jelly. This larva will grow into a queen bee which has a large body and lay lots of eggs. She is the largest bee in the colony. Drones are male bees, They do not work or sting. Worker bees are female bees which do all the work. There are about 55,000 worker bees in a colony. They are great architect. They produce wax and shape it into hexagonal cells called comb. Comb is very thin but the hexagons shape make it very strong.
We should not be worried about the same bee stinging us again. It is because a bee can sting once and it will fly away and die. It will leave its stinger behind. The stinger will only stop pumping poison unless it is removed. The bee sting can be deadly to those who are allergic to bee sting. Bees are not aggressive if they are left alone. Their stingers are only there to act as a defence. We are in fact a greater danger to bees because of the usage of toxic chemicals to the environment.