The three Different Bees in a Hive
Males, or drones, are typically haploid, having only one set of chromosomes and primarily exist for the purpose of reproduction. They are produced by the queen if she chooses not to fertilize an egg or by an unfertilized laying worker. Diploid drones may be produced if an egg is fertilized but is homozygous for the sex-determination allele. Drones take 24 days to develop and may be produced from summer through autumn, numbering as many as 500 per hive. They are expelled from the hive during the winter months when the hive’s primary focus is warmth and food conservation. Drones have large eyes used to locate queens during mating flights. They do not defend the hive or kill intruders, and do not have a stinger.
Queen honey bees are created when worker bees feed a single female larvae an exclusive diet of a food called “royal jelly”. Queens are produced in oversized cells and develop in only 16 days; they differ in morphology and behaviour from worker bees. In addition to the greater size of the queen, she has a functional set of ovaries, and a spermathecal, which stores and maintains sperm after she has mated.
Apis queens practice polyandry, with one female mating with multiple males. The highest documented mating frequency for an Apis queen is in Apis nigrocincta, where queens mate with an extremely high number of males with observed numbers of different matings ranging from 42 to 69 drones per queen. The sting of queens is not barbed like a worker’s sting, and queens lack the glands that produce beeswax. Once mated, queens may lay up to 2,000 eggs per day. They produce a variety of pheromones that regulate behaviour of workers, and helps swarms track the queen’s location during the migratory phase.
The Worker Bee
Workers have two sets of chromosomes. They are produced from an egg that the queen has selectively fertilized from stored sperm. Workers typically develop in 21 days. A typical colony may contain as many as 60,000 worker bees. Workers exhibit a wider range of behaviours than either queens or drones. Their duties change upon the age of the bee in the following order (beginning with cleaning out their own cell after eating through their capped brood cell): feed brood, receive nectar, clean hive, guard duty, and foraging. Some workers engage in other specialized behaviours, such as “undertaking” (removing corpses of their nest mates from inside the hive).
Workers have morphological specializations, including the pollen basket (corbicula), abdominal glands that produce beeswax, brood-feeding glands, and barbs on the sting. Under certain conditions (for example, if the colony becomes queenless), a worker may develop ovaries.
What is honey? – A Definition
Honey is a sweet product made from flower nectar, combined with an enzyme secreted by honey bees, then concentrated by reducing moisture in the honeycomb cells.
How is beeswax Made?
The glands of worker bees convert the sugar contents of honey into wax, which oozes through the bee’s small pores to produce tiny flakes of wax on their abdomens.
Workers chew these pieces of wax until they become soft and moldable, and then add the chewed wax to the honeycomb construction.
What is Honey Bee Propolis?
Propolis is a resinous material that bees use to seal small cracks and gaps in the hive (beeswax seals the larger gaps).
It’s made when bees collect resin from trees and other sources and mix it with a little bit of honey.