Bee family - the most complex system. It has a certain structure, different kind of bees, which perform certain tasks. In appearance, it may seem that the bee family lives chaotically, randomly, but in reality it is a strictly established mechanism, and each bee plays an invaluable role in it.
What is a bee colony
A bee colony is all bees that live in the same hive. Bees look alike. A person who does not practice beekeeping may confuse different species, drones, queen bees, and worker bees. But in fact, the bees are very different.
A person who does not practice beekeeping may confuse different types of bees.
The device of a bee colony is subject to a strict hierarchy, which is the main law for bees. The family consists of an active swarm (queen, drones, worker bees) and a passive (brood). On average, there are about 70 thousand bees in a family, but it can be more or less, this is not a strict value. Bee hive is valued and cherished, for them it is like a separate family member. They take care of it, so that if necessary it is possible to increase the number of individuals.Important! In bad weather you should not meet with the bees, and even more so climb into the hive. They are very sensitive to the weather and easily annoyed at this time.
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The bee family consists of several species of bees. Each of them has a specific task on which they work all their lives.
- Uterus - the queen of the hive. She is the only one in the family and she gives fertilized eggs. Lives on average 5 years. The average weight - 300 mg - is the largest individual in the bee colony, so it is easy to distinguish it at least in size.
- Drones - males, whose only task is to fertilize the uterus. The mass of one such individual is 250 g on average.
- Worker bees - the basis of the hive. It is these bees in the "house" the most. The weight of a working bee is about 100 mg. They are small, active, constantly flying and working, hence their name.
The composition of the bee familyInteresting! Working bees are females with undeveloped genitals. They do not give eggs, but no less important for the normal functioning of the family than the uterus.
The uterus and its work
A bee family without a uterus cannot function. This is the only individual from all over the hive, capable of laying fertilized eggs. During the day, one uterus can produce several thousand eggs, and over a season of about 200 thousand. The egg-laying process lasts from the end of winter until the beginning of autumn frosts. Most of all eggs the uterus gives in the first 2 years of life. Then it lays fewer eggs, many of them are unfertilized, so the beekeepers replace the queen from time to time.Interesting! If there are a lot of bees in the hive, you can divide the family (creating a slider). This is usually done after the last bribe. It is important to take care that each of the two educated families has its own uterus.
Next to the uterus are the nurse bees, which feed her with bee milk (a special delicacy). Already at the end of the first week after birth, the uterus is ready for mating. To attract drones, she has special glands with an enzyme to which they flock. But if the pairing did not happen for one reason or another, it becomes barren and the family may die.
It is interesting that inside the hive to find the uterus is not very easy. For her built a special place where she can live. Next to her, the nurse bees always fly around her ring. They always turn their heads towards the uterus, in order to satisfy their needs, as needed.
Next to the uterus are the nurse bees, who feed her with bee milk.
For mating, the uterus can fly out of the hive, this happens so that no related crossbreeding occurs. When the uterus flies out of the hive, the nurse flies with her. It mates with several drones, the drone seed is collected in a special collection, from where it is gradually consumed. Approximately a couple of days after mating, the female lays eggs. And so that other bees do not breed in the hive, the uterus secretes a pheromone, which affects the hormonal system of all insects, blocking the possibility of their reproduction, and implants the same smell in the hive.
If any problems arise with the uterus, in a few minutes the bees find out about it and start to get very nervous. If there is a queen cell in the hive, they quickly calm down, because another womb can replace one womb. If there is no queen cell, they urgently begin to fatten a new “queen”.Important! A beekeeper should regularly check the state of the uterus, because without it, the bee family can die in 2-3 weeks!
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All the worker bees in the hive are female. There are about 90 thousand of them in the hive during the honey collection and about 40 thousand from the end of autumn to the beginning of spring. Their genitals are underdeveloped because of the pheromone that the uterus secretes, so they cannot lay eggs. What are their functions? Worker bees do a lot of important things, namely:
All the worker bees in the hive are female.
- looking for honey culture;
- collect pollen;
- take care of the larvae;
- monitor the state of the hive (clean, patch holes, etc.);
- maintain normal humidity in the hive;
- make honeycombs;
- warm and protect the hive.
Depending on age, work bees have different occupations. For example, old bees work all the time outside the hive, and young ones work in 2 shifts inside the nest. One group works at night, the other during the day. They do their homework well and protect the "house."Interesting! Bees are very annoying animal smell, sweat, alcohol, cologne.
Drones and their role in the bee family
Drones are male bees. They have a number of distinctive qualities that make them easy to recognize:
- no sting;
- no pollen collection devices.
- no wax glands;
- in size they are larger than working bees, but smaller than uterus.
Photo of a one-day drone larva
The task of the drones is mating with the uterus. This is their main and only role in the hive. They do not build honeycombs and are not physically fit to collect pollen. At the same time, the drones cannot feed or protect themselves in order to survive, they need the care of the worker bees. They receive this care during active breeding, but in the fall, when the breeding season ends, they stop feeding the drones and drive them out of the hive.Interesting! Since the drones cannot feed themselves outside the hive, in the fall, when they are expelled, they die quickly. They can survive only if there is no uterus in the hive. Then they are not expelled, allowing them to stay for the whole winter and the following season, to increase the family.
Formation of bee brood
The development of the family of bees occurs through brood. And how is it formed? This process is controlled by the whole family. The uterus is working to ensure that the honeycombs are not empty and are filled with eggs. Seeing an empty cell, she lays an egg in it. If she does not do this, she leaves many empty cells, she is considered sick, weak and replaced. The job of worker bees is to lay out food next to the larvae so that they can eat.
The larvae grow, and when there is not enough space in the cell, the cell is sealed and a pupa forms. Sealing is necessary in order to form all the important organs of the bee (legs, wings, eyes, mouth, glands). At this time, the white bee is formed, with time it begins to change color, it darkens, and characteristic bands appear.
Formation of bee broodInteresting! With one womb, the family acts harmoniously, calmly, as a single mechanism. If the uterus is replaced, the bees can behave unpredictably. At this time, the beekeeper should closely monitor the beehive and bees.
So that the development of the larvae proceeds normally, they are taken care of by worker bees. During the day they visit them about 1000 times. At the end, when the larva is ready to hatch out of the cocoon, next to it is the nurse, who at first takes care of the young bee, so that she is full.
If the development of the family is fast, it is possible from time to time to carry out layering of bees (family division) in order to expand the apiary. In addition, this procedure allows you to control the size of the bee colony, which is important. When organizing the bee slips, care must be taken to ensure that there is a queen, drones and enough worker bees in the formed bee colony, otherwise the young family will not be able to survive for a long time.
A bee family is like one big, complex organism. From the moment of the appearance of the egg to the adult individual, they go through an interesting path of development. And already, being adults, they work for the good of the whole hive every day, tirelessly and even in the winter period. So with proper organization of the apiary and following the rules, the beekeeper can create many bee colonies and regularly receive very tasty, valuable honey from them.