Honeybees are unusual creatures. They defy the laws of nature in many ways, and their instincts sometimes seem to be infinitely smarter than man can comprehend. Let’s take a look at some of the interesting operations of honeybees and their hives.
First, each hive of honeybees has a queen. There is only one queen in every hive, and she is larger than the rest of the bees. When a queen hatches, she immediately leaves the hive on her mating flight. Once she has mated, she returns to the hive to lay eggs. The queen will never leave the hive again. Her sole responsibility is to lay eggs so the hive continues to grow. As she does this, the worker bees attend to her needs, ensuring that she is taken care of.
Worker bees, as their name implies, do the work around the hive. Not only do they see to the queen’s needs, but they also build the honeycomb, collect pollen, turn it into honey, and more. Worker bees can fly up to several miles in a day gathering pollen and brining it back to the hive. When a bee finds a good source of pollen, it will often come back to the hive to let the others know about it and where it is. It does this by doing a “bee dance” of sorts. Then, more worker bees will fly off to the new source of pollen.
Nurse bees in the hive care for the eggs the queen lays. When the queen first lays an egg, the cells they are laid in are open. Once the egg reaches a certain point in its growth, the nurse bees will cap off the cell to protect the larvae as it grows. The nurse bees are also responsible for feeding the larvae in order to help them grow. The type of bee the larvae will become is determined by the type and amount of food they are fed. In fact, when a hive needs a new queen, nurse bees will feed some of the larvae a special food, called royal jelly, which causes them to develop into queen bees.
All of this just scratches the surface of the amazingness of bees. They truly are a mysterious creature and very fascinating to study. For more information about honeybees and how they work, check out the video below or search Youtube for other honeybee and beekeeping videos.