View web site in EnglishView web site in Chinese
 

Bee’s Family Tree

Spring is here, flowers are near, bees are dancing around the garden.

It is the scent of these flowers that draw the bees to them. These bees stick their hairy legs into the flower bed full of pollens and their straw- like tongue into the nectar pool to take in flower nectar. Their concentration and how hardworking they are tells us that they are not wasting one second of the time. It’s wonderful to see the bees fly back to their hives with a stomach full of flower nectar and two full bags of pollen collected at their back legs.

Back in their hive, these collected pollens are to feed the younger bees and the nectar is used to make honey. In a beehive, there are 3 types of bees - – Drone Bee, Worker Bee, and Queen Bee.

Drone Bee
The Drone Bee is the male bee of the colony. Its job is to mate with the Queen Bee. After a Drone Bee has mated with the Queen Bee, it will die. This is because the Drone Bee’s sexual organ is detached off its body and attached to the Queen Bee’s body. This organ acts as a bag of sperm for the Queen Bee to carry around used to fertilize the eggs she laid.

The Queen Bee only needs to mate with a few Drone Bees. After the mating period, the rest of the Drone Bees who doesn’t have a chance to mate with the Queen Bee will be left jobless. At this time, they are considered useless bees. This is because they do not have the ability to collect flower pollens because they do not have hair on their back legs, they cannot collect flower nectar because their tongue is too short to reach them and that they eat 3 times more than the Worker Bees! The fate of these Drone Bees is cruel. They will be kicked out of the hives! How? When these Drones fly out of the hive to pass motion, they are not allowed to enter the hive again.

 

Worker Bee
In a Worker Bee’s life, there are 3 stages – housekeeping, collector and guard stage. Its average lifespan is 2 – 3 months.

Housekeeping stage
In the first 2 weeks of the Worker Bee’s life, they are in the housekeeping stage. At this stage, their jobs are to clean up the hive such as removing the fellow bee carcass, mending holes in the honey comb with propolis and bee wax, making honey with the help of the collector bees and also to feed the Queen Bee mouth to mouth with Royal Jelly. Royal Jelly can only be produced by the Worker Bee within the first 10 days after they are born at the back of their membrane. How is Royal Jelly produced? The logic is the same as the case where a pregnant woman will produce breast milk. It’s natural.

Collector Stage
After 2 weeks, the bees are old enough to fly thus they will proceed to the Collector stage. In this stage, the bees will fly to the wild to collect flower nectar and pollen. When the bee reached a flower with pollens, it will stick the pollen onto their hairy legs with the help of its glands. After which they will fly back to the hive, deposit the pollen into the honey combs and pass the nectar mouth to mouth to the Housekeeping Bees. The flower nectar taken in will react with the enzymes and glands of the Housekeeping Bee. After which it will become Honey. The Housekeeping Bees will then vomit the Honey into the honey combs.

Guard Stage
After another 2 weeks, the bees stepped into their old age. They are very experience bees but they are too old to do much flying thus they will be stationed at the entrance of the hive to guard the hive from other insects or bees from other colony to enter to harm their colony or snatch their food. They will smell every bee that is entering the hive. They recognize bees from their own colony by smell. Bees from the same colony carry a unique identical smell that comes from the queen bee. During the late evening, the guard bees will perform a special task. They will tilt their bums up and flap their wings to spread this unique smell out to the wild. This smell will act as a guide to guide the Collector Bees back to their hive. This is to ensure that the bees will not go knocking on the wrong door!

 

Queen Bee
There is only one Queen Bee in each hive. The Queen Bee only consumes Royal Jelly. It is believed that it is the rich nutrition of Royal Jelly that enables the Queen Bee to live to an average lifespan of 7 years.

The main job of the Queen Bee is to lay eggs. After successful mating, which is when the sexual organ of the Drone Bee containing sperms is attached to the Queen’s abdomen, the Queen Bee can lay up to 1500 fertilized eggs daily. These eggs are laid in the clean empty pockets in the honey comb. However, sperm used to fertilize the eggs laid cannot last for the whole lifespan of the Queen Bee. Once the sperms are used up, the Worker Bees will stop feeding her with Royal Jelly and allow her to starve to death. How cruel! At this moment, these Worker Bees will start to make a new Queen Bee. They will start to find the fertilized eggs that the dead Queen Bee has laid; vomit Royal Jelly to allow the larvae to consume. This is because when the larvae is constantly fed with Royal Jelly, they will develop into Queen Bees. Royal chambers that are shaped like a peanut are built for the larvae to grow into Queen Bees on the honey combs. The newly hatched Queen will destroy any other unhatched Queens, fights to death with any hatched Queens. In the end only the strongest Queen will survive.

 

House of Bees – Beehive
Beehives are mostly constructed in trees. Like humans, the bees construct their own house. The hexagonal holes of the honey combs in the hive are made up of bee wax which is found at the stomach surface of the bees. When the bees want to produce this bee wax, they will consume large amounts of honey the previous night, rest at the ceiling of the hive so that these honey consumed will turn into bee wax and form at their stomach surface through the wax holes at their body. Then, the bee wax will dry up with the presence of air. At this point of time, they are ready for construction of the honey combs.

Don’t you think the bees work like humans? They live in different houses that they built themselves but work in the same place (flower garden), have different jobs to take care of and produce nutritional stuffs like honey, propolis and royal jelly!