Bees hornets wasps

Categories: All about bees, Bee species |

The most famous honey bee is Apis mellifera. Since immemorial times people use it to make honey. Working individuals can be easily recognized by the unit on the back foot, where pollen is collected. European bee was first brought to America by colonists for honey collecting and pollination of fields. Many Americans believe that the bees have always lived in America.

The ripening of beesThe queen bee develops from egg to adult 17 days, the worker bee – 21, and the drone – 24 days.

 Bees hornets wasps - bumble bee facts (5)

Why do bees need mandibles

Because of eating nectar and pollen the upper jaw of the honey bee (Apis mellifera) grinds solid food. Worker bee upper jaw shapes the wax in the honeycomb. Drone gnaws its way out of a sealed cell, and queen, in addition, kills opponents.

How many bees in the hive
The average hive can be up to 60 000 – 120 000 bees.

Wings of bee
Honeybee flaps its wings at 200 times per second. It needs to make 11,400 strokes per minute to get the characteristic hum.

Bees have five eyes.
Three at the top of the head and two in front.

Skipping to the hive.

Bees have a lot of enemies and “freeloaders”, so the entrance to the hive is securely guarded by guards, ready at any moment attack the intruder. Neither one bee can not get into another hive. Each hive has a special smell, not felt by the man. Each bee keeps the smell in a special recess of the body. Flying up to the tap hole, the bee opens it and shows the smell for the guards as business card or badge.

 Bees hornets wasps - bumble bee facts (6)

Various types of work in the hive.

Worker bee works all her lifetime. First time job is to clean the cells where the queen lays eggs, as well as heating and ventilating the hive. Then, the worker bees need to feed the young bees and receive honey from the bees-pickers. Only after that worker bees begin to make independent cells for honey. Worker bee lives 26-40 days. In the bee family, there are about 80 thousand individuals.

Why bee dances.

Once a bee has found a good place to collect pollen, it returns to the hive to report its location to other bees. Information is transmitted through a special “dance” on the combs in which the bee moves in a closed curve resembling a figure eight, wagging its belly. The intensity of the whipping depends on the distance of food, and an inclination of the eight shows direction.

1 kg of honey

In order to produce 500 g of honey, a bee needs to fly 10 million times from the hive to the flower and back. And to get 1 kg of honey, bees must collect nectar from 19 million flowers. Of course, a lot of bees collect a kilogram of honey. But one bee a day visits an average of 7,000 flowers.

Fluctuations of the wings.

The wings of insects are different and they vary a lot. For example, the fly makes 330-350 strokes per second; Bee – 300, when it flies with honey, and 440 when flying without cargo, bumblebees – 190-240 times a second flap their wings, and the mosquitoes – 500-600 (some species even 1000), wasps – 250; horseflies – 100, dragonflies – 40-100; ladybug – 75; chafer – 45; moths – 35-40; locusts – 20.

Bee vision

Bees do not distinguish the red color. They see it as a dark gray or black. But they perceive UV rays, while for a man it is only darkness.

Wasp sting.

What colors bees like 

Bees have an innate preference for violet and blue-green.  Constructions of flowers of various colors and shapes were placed in the maze. Once the bees entered, they immediately rushed to the yellow and blue patterns. However, it appeared that only by the color the insects are not fooled. If the bees do not get the preferred “color” nectar or pollen, they immediately explore other offers. Thus, compared to the hunger visual “sympathy” of bees – in the background.

Decoded genome of bees

To decode the genome of honeybee (Apis mellifera) team of Ph.D. Richard Gibbs took a year of hard work and about $ 8 million. It turned out that the bee genome is ten times smaller than a human, and contains about 300 million base pairs of DNA. Now scientists have to found what place in the sequence certain genes occupy and what they are doing.

Departure of swarm

In the middle of summer, before appearing the young queen, the old queen with a part of the worker bees is in a hurry to leave the hive. A swarm of bees is out to find a new home.

Shortest mating behavior
Honeybee Apis mellifera mates on the fly, the female is up into the air, the males rush her, together they look like a comet and its tail. The right of pairing belongs to the winner, who catches it, but it pays life: mating occurs so rapidly that after mating, the male does not have time to remove his phallus, and it remains in the body of the uterus, the male dies.
Bees flying speed – 22.4 km / h (6.1 m/s)
Speed of flight of the bumblebee – 3 km / h (0.83 m/s)
speed of flight of the hornet – 25.4 km / h (6.9 m/s)
speed of flight of the wasp – 9 km / h (2.5 m/s)

Chitin wound healing

Chitosan – modified chitin is the protective armor of crabs, lobsters, shrimp, bees, cockroaches, flies. It is non-toxic and biocompatible, fine sorbent immunostimulant, antiseptic, has wound-healing properties. 

Bees in winter

In winter, the bees do not sleep, so in the winter they need to stock enough food.

Harvesting honey

One bee colony prepares for the summer about 150 kg of honey. To collect 1 kg of honey, bees must visit about 10 million flowers and bring 100 thousand portions of nectar.

Fatherless in the world of bees

Male bees do not inherit a second set of genes from the father. They remain semi-clones of a queen. Females have two copies of the gene, necessarily different alleles. The males – only one copy. Almost a fifth of all animal species, including all the ants, bees and wasps, there is a similar system of sex determination, but the specific mechanism and the participation of different genes in this process has not yet been studied. A study of this process can explain the complex social system of these animals.

Three social groups in the hive

Bees, like many insects, go through four stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult. The colony has from 10 000 to 50 000 individuals. Bees have three social groups. Among them, the queen , sterile working females, males, drones and young bees that are still under breeding. Queen lays eggs and it is the mother of all the bees in the hive,  once mated with a male in the wild to get two sets of genes so it would transmit them to their offspring-females. Worker bees are these same females. In the hive there are the drones – males. Their only function – is sex.  However, sometimes when breeding to achieve certain traits, eggs can be fertilized by chance with two copies of one allele of the gene.In this case, sterile males appear. Worker bees find and kill larvae of sterile males, and with such failures entire hives can die. Each colony builds a hive, consisting of hexagonal wax combs. Wax itself – is the mass secretory released from glands of worker bees. Stored in the comb honey and pollen are food for the hive, there are also developing young bees.

Worker bees leave the hive in search of food. The bee has a sting, but after stinging, it dies. The average life of the working bee is 6 weeks. Drones are larger in size of worker bees, and they do not have sting. Working bees from the hive  care for them and they do not fly. They live eight weeks. Their only purpose – to mate with a young queen. In autumn drones usually leave the colony and die, otherwise they kicked by the worker bees.

The queen lays eggs. In appropriate circumstances, it may lay 1000 eggs a day. The duration of its life – 4 years. Outwardly, it looks like the worker bee that is superior in size and has greatly elongated abdomen.

During the season, the colony increases and splits into two or more swarms. Queen and worker bees leave the colony at once, they often land on the nearest tree in search of a suitable site for the new colony. Swarming occurs in spring and summer. The young queen establishes a colony, mates, and then begins to lay eggs. Swarming bees carry the honey from the hive reserves and therefore do not sting. Then they choose a place for the colony and build honeycomb and put honey. Freed from the burden, they again become aggressive.

The most dangerous bee
Bees hornets wasps - bumble bee facts (1)

One of the species of honeybee, Apis mellifera scutellata, originating from the African subspecies, does not only attack, if provoked, but persistently pursues the offender. Its venom does not act stronger than other bees venom, but because it stings many times, its stings can be fatal. In 1956, African honeybees were imported from Tanzania to Brazil in order to increase local honey bees. They assumed that the bee from a cross of subspecies will be more productive, inheriting qualities of tropical ancestor. But hybrid of bee did not bring honey, but new bees inherited aggressiveness of their African ancestry. A new species were called Africanized honey bees. These bees are gradually replacing the peaceful European bees. Hybrids are derived from eggs a few days earlier than normal bees, they have a higher percentage of young bees in honeycomb cell, while European bees assign more cells for honey. Conventional hybrids are smaller than ordinary bees, but not much. The main feature of hybrids, like their African ancestors – the are very aggressive. In case of danger, they send a detachment of bee worker bees to defend the nest, and the size of the detachment is 3-4 times higher than that of ordinary bees. They attack the intruder at a much greater distance from the hive than the European bee. 
Deaths from bee stings
It was found that people die from 100-300 bites, but the lethal dose for an adult – is 500-1100 bee stings.
If you are stung by a bee
Remove a sting. If you have multiple stings, remove most of them. If this is not possible, count how many bees sting you have and tell your doctor. Rinse swollen place with soap and water. Put ice on the affected area.
 Why people keep bees

Honey bee does not only produce honey, but also plays a key role in the pollination of plants. Biologists seek new methods of treating human diseases, such as allergies, and help to explore features of social behavior.

 Bees trained to search by the smell

Biologists from the University of Montana trained bees to find the smell for years, using the classical method of training club: made a deal – get a reward. As a prize, the bees got water and sugar. Learning a new fragrance, the bee conveys its knowledge to relatives. So, in a couple of hours the hive can be sent to find a new scent, so the hive will swarm, looking for, instead of flowers, dynamite, nitroglycerin, 2,4-dinitrotoluene, and the like.

Bees looking for explosives

Scientists, working at the Pentagon, trained bees to find explosives. Bees in terms of sensitivity are much more capable than the dogs, they find explosives in 99% of cases. This is, of course, great, but how the military know that the bee has found the explosives? This work is at an early stage, but it was found many difficulties: the bee is still not a dog, they refuse to “work” at night and in inclement weather. Coached to find explosives hives of bees will be placed near all the major roadblocks so the insects can take action against potential terrorists at any moment.

Killer bees

Ancient bees differed  little from the current

Ancestors of tropical bees Cretotrigona prisca were found in layers of amber in the Yucatan. These bees are very similar to modern in their structure and characteristics of metabolism. Therefore, scientists have suggested that they needed for the existence the same temperature as the current descendants. Metabolism of today’s bees is suitable for a temperature 31-34 ° C (87-93 F). At the same temperature the plants they need for food have the best bloom.

The life span of bees

The queen bee of the lives 3 years  – maximum 5 years. But the worker bee lives 40 days in the summer, and 9 months in winter .

Speed of the flight of the Bumblebee

Bees hornets wasps - bumble bee facts

Bumblebee flight speed – 18 km/h (5 m/s), dragonflies – up to 96 km/h (26 m/s).

How to recognise the bumblebee

The genus of bumblebees (Bombus) is well-known hairy  and clumsy insects, examining flowers with business-like hum. Like bees, bumblebees have special apparatus for collecting pollen on their hind legs. Lifestyle of different bumblebee species is very similar. In spring overwintered female flies low over the ground, choosing a suitable location for housing. Usually hives are built in old stumps or underground nests with cells of irregular shape, and are arranged in no particular order. Bumble community lives there only one summer and is never numerous. Rare nests can number 400-500 bumblebees.

Wasp predator


Bees hornets wasps - bumble bee facts (3)

The subfamily of social wasps (Vespinae) is not able to excrete the wax, so they build their nests of a substance similar to a thin cardboard. One of our most common species – Saxon wasp (Dolichovespula Saxonica) makes this process. It scrapes the old timber on dry trunks, stumps and even fences, leaving the longitudinal grooves. Then, in a special way it mixes it with saliva, builds a spherical nest, puts it on the branches of trees, under rocks or overhanging roofs. Sometimes this neighborhood is dangerous.

Inside the nest there are hexagonal honeycomb cells, arranged in several layers. Food for the larvae in the first few days is the flower nectar, and then wasps begin to chew insects for them, making a kind of “chops”. Colony of wasps live there only one summer. By the fall all male workers and wasps die. Only fertilized females remain to winter. In the spring the female begins to build a new nest. In search of a place to build a nest wasp often fly into apartments.

 Wasps attack drone

Hornet’s nest

Nest of hornets (Vespa crabro) is up to 3 cm in length. Material for building a nest of hornets is the bark of young trees, so the building is not as strong as that of a wasp.Therefore, the nest has to have a more secure location, such as old stumps or tree holes, where they sit on the surface, guarding the entrance to the nest. Sometimes this hive can grow to the size of the bucket to the fall.

Bees hornets wasps - bumble bee facts (4)

Sting of hornet

Sting of hornet is very dangerous, and is considered five times more painful than injection of wasps. Therefore,  it is better not to bother accidentally discovered nest of hornets.

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