The bees

Bees are socially developed insects, which means they live together in large, highly organized family units. Bees are quite evolved as a species as they can undertake and are responsible for a series of complex tasks and functions such as: communication, building complex honeycomb cells, controlling the environment (pollination), defense and division of labor. The bees’ behavior is unique and quite fascinating among all the other insects and animals of the world. As far as organizing within the hive goes, bees are divided into three distinct categories: 1. The queen. There can only be one queen in a hive or within a colony of bees. She is the only sexually developed female, her main function is to reproduce. She produces fertilized eggs as well as non-fertilized eggs. Her second major function is to produce the pheromones that serve as the social glue which unites the bees and creates the colony’s unique identity. 2. The drones. The drones are male bees and are larger than workers, but not as long as queens. Drones do not have stingers, pollen baskets on their legs, or glands for producing wax. Their only function is to fertilize the queen during her nuptial flight. Their sexual organs mature only a week after they are born and they die immediately after mating. Therefore drones have no useful activity within the hive other than to fertilize the queen, yet their presence is very important for the normal functioning of a colony. 3. The workers. The workers are the smallest and also the most numerous bees of the colony. They are female bees, undeveloped sexually and thus, in a normal hive environment, they cannot lay eggs. Hive bees have a special physiology designed for working inside the hive: pharyngeal glands, mandibular glands — thoracic glands, wax glands, scent and sting gland that allow them to do all the hive chores. Young bees, called house bees, produce wax and shape it into combs, they clean and repair cells using propolis to seal cracks, they fan their wings to ventilate the hive in summer, controlling temperature and humidity, they provide heat in winter, they feed the queen, the drones, and each other and they handle the nectar brought in by the older bees. Some guard the hive to keep out raiders. Later on, as older field bees, they will be collecting pollen, nectar, water and propolis.



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