Worker bee

Categories: All about bees, Bee species |

A female with underdeveloped genitals, unable to mate with drones, carrying out work in the bee family is called the worker bee. They are the majority of the bee family. They bring and receive nectar and pollen. They process nectar into honey, pollen into ambrosia, wax and glue in propolis. They fold nectar the honeycomb cells. They feed brood, care for the queen and feed her. They build honeycombs.  Also, with their heads, press pollen to the cells, wet it with honey and enzymatic secretion.They maintain cleanliness inside the hive. They guard the nest against insects and animals. They warm the nest, closing up all the cracks with propolis.  Regardless of external conditions, they keep the temperature at a level 35 C (95 F).They bring the water, which is needed a lot in spring and hot summer.

Worker bee (2)

In the season of active work – the spring and summer – the worker bees quickly die when they start to work in a field. In the spring it is especially hard to get the water. They need it constantly. It is not stored in the hive. Bees bring water in any weather. It is particularly difficult to get water in early spring days when the sun shines brightly, but it is still cold. The bees fly out of the hives, and many of them die daily. New bees are born every day. Bee lives in summer for 25-40 days. In the spring and early summer, more bees are born than die, and their number in the family increases. Family builds up its strength. Worker bees are bred in the cells. They appear from the laid fertile eggs of the bee queen. The embryos develop in the eggs for three days, on the fourth day the egg shell is broken. At this point, the nurse bees place in the cell the drop of milk, which softens the shell of the egg and larva comes out.

Bee  feed larvae with milk for 3 days and then they give more rough food – gruel (a mixture of honey, pollen and water). By the end of the sixth day the larva grows so much that does not fit the bottom of the cell, and then it straightens up, directing the head for the exit. At this time, the bees seal the cell, and here comes the pupal stage, which lasts for 12 days. After this period, young bee breaks the wax cap and leaves the cell. The period from the moment of oviposition to the leaving the the cell is 21 days.

Worker bee

The development of the working bee: 1 – larva, just emerged from the egg, 2 – one day old larvae, 3 – a two-day, 4 – a three-day, 5 – a four-day, 6 – many days of age, just before sealing the cell, 7 – pupa in sealed box.

Just born bee during the first day after the output does not work. Only on the second and third days of life it begins to clean and polish the cells – to prepare them for eggs or honey and pollen. On the fourth and sixth day a young worker bee starts feeding the 4-day and older larvae, preparing the food. From the sixth to the tenth day, it feeds the younger larvae (up to three days age) with the jelly from its body. The larva grows with extraordinary rapidity, and literally every minute demands food. Due to good nutrition for the first six days of life, its mass increases by 1300 times. At the end of this period, the young bee makes its first flight in good weather. It gets acquainted with the look of the hive and the surrounding areas. Beekeeper may not notice this during the intensive honey flow. But in August and early September it is easy to notice in good weather (about 2-3 pm) a lot of flying above the hive young bees. They circle for 30-40 minutes, after which the family is again quiet.

After 11 – 12 days bees lose their ability to secrete milk and do other work: take from the bees-pickers the brought nectar and process it into honey, put in cells and seal. However, they feed up and secrete wax for building honeycombs.

Worker bee (3)

At the same age bees clean the hive: move out a variety of garbage, dead bees and other debris, as well as protect the nest. On the twelfth to fifteenth day the bees begin to fly out of the hive and the rest of the life they collect nectar, water, pollen and glue.

As can be seen, the work of the bees is determined by their age, but sometimes they can do the job, not typical for their age. In the  honey harvest time, when there is no work inside the hive, the bees become pickers earlier, and vice versa – if there is a large number of open brood they do his feeding longer. Brood feeding and caring for the bees is always in the first place, even ignoring the honey harvest.

Worker bee (4)

During the first tentative flying around (about the tenth day of the life), or during the spring flying around the bees notice well where there is their hive, and unmistakably come back.

It follows that the hive, put in a certain place, you can not move, because returned from the field bees will not find it and will fly into another which is closest to the old place.

The bees fly out to the field for nectar at a distance of 1500-2000 m, they cover a circle whose center is a hive, and the radius – the distance of the flight.

The ability of bees to navigate the terrain, to remember the place of the hive and to work near it determines the distance at which they can be transported. If bees fly for 2000 m, for example, they can be transported over a distance of 4000 m, and in this case they do not return to the old place. If you move them on 3,000 meters, they will fly to the former hive, but in very small quantities. If you transport bees to 1000-2000 m and close, a part of them returns back, and not finding the hive, goes into the neighboring, and if there are no hives nearby, the bees will die.

To prevent the return of the bees, moved to 500-2000 m, beekeepers make them to overflight for the orientation in the new location. To do this, they arrange the obstruction of twigs in the notch from straw or other material so that bees can crawl through it (through the holes between the straw and the like). Faced with the obstacle, the bees will fly around and remember the location of the hive.

This device does not always lead to the desired results, as part of the bees still does not flyby, and, making the way through the barrier, flies directly in the field, getting into a familiar area and returns to the old place. However, most of the bees flyby and work at the new location. With a good honey flow more bees come back to the old place, and during bad weather – less.

Taken off and planted to the hive in a new location bees swarm forgets the old hive and does not return.

Often, there is a need to move the hive to another place, a short distance away. If you move the hive from a permanent place at least at a distance of 5-10 m, bees returning from the field, do not find it, and fly to the other, the next one, taking it for their own. These bees enter the new hive, if they bring nectar or pollen, glue or water. Otherwise host bees do not let them in their hive and try to kill them. Bees without burden, yet forced to enter the hive of other family, “ask permission”: approaching the notch, they move slowly with its head down and lifting abdomen, fluttering wings, uttering the peculiar sound. Bees host sniff it and only then allow to enter the hive. These bees forget the old hive, and remain in the new family.

If between the apiary and a source of nectar there is another apiary, they will fly into the wrong hive, especially in the rain, returning from the field with a burden. In this case, the first apiary will lose a lot of bees, and the second – excessive force. Therefore it is prohibited to put apiary on the flight of bees.

Bees get to know each other in the family and other bee families by smell. The hive entrance is guarded by a special bee – keepers that do not allow other bees in (except for those that bring something or “ask”), distinguishing them by the smell. When there is no honey flow, usually at the end of the summer, the bees of other families try to get in to steal honey. Bees host drive them and try to kill.

Young family, settled in the hollow of a tree or in the hive, all is included in the construction of the nest, while the age of bees is unequal. If suddenly the flying bees die, then young bees switch on the collection of honey. Consequently, the family of bees can regroup, mobilize and direct its reserves for the most important works. This property allows them to quickly respond both favorable and unfavorable external environment and adapt to them. This biological feature of the family of honey bees is of great practical importance. When the main sources of nectar bloom, one family can be strengthened by the bees of another backup. The family received additional working reserves and collects honey much more than any other. In unusual circumstances, which threaten to ruin the family, milk, wax, and enzymatic glands can be reopened. And they go back to feeding larvae, nesting, processing nectar into honey. Hence, environmental factors determine the behavior of the family – it is very flexible and mobile biological object.

Worker bee (5)

Bees-females have lost the ability to reproduce in the process of evolution. Now they’re just workers , and perform all the duties of maintenance of bee colony. Inside and outside parts of body changed and improved. The working bee honey has a greater goiter, with which it sucks the nectar. It can hold up to eighty cubic millimeters of nectar, it is almost equal to the mass of the bee. This is facilitated by the structure of the abdomen. The abdomen may increase greatly in length and in width, which also helps to breath more rapid during the flight, and in the winter there are accumulated decay products. Proboscis also elongated. It turned into a powerful pump with which the worker bee can extract nectar from almost any flower. Apparatus for collecting and transporting pollen also improved. Baskets on the hind legs of a bee with recesses and large hard curved inside hairs-holders so artfully arranged that two balls of pollen are securely held in the air, even in windy conditions. Six legs of bees are not only means of transportation, but also the important working parts. They help a bee to collect pollen from the flowers, and sticky resinous substance – propolis from buds of trees, to build combs, to brush its body. Leg claws help in many ways: to sit in clusters or on any flower. Other organs are also multipurpose. Four wings serve as a fan to freshen the air in the nest and remove excess moisture in the nectar. The wings are also a means of raising the temperature of the body in flight and maintaining the desired temperature in the nest. It sweeps the floor and signals with them. Bees have highly developed glands that produce milk. They feed their little sisters with nutritious, bioactive milk while sisters are in the larval stage, feed queen larvae and queens themselves with a special royal jelly. Worker bee are able to lift into the air burden, two times heavier than its body, and it can move horizontally a thing, twenty times heavier than itself.

Honeybees are neat and look after themselves – carefully rub eyes, antennae, proboscis, scrape legs of feet, carefully comb scallops and smooth hair. Bee is covered with many very sensitive hairs that help it to find food quickly, respond to changes in the weather and family needs. So cleaning the body from dust and other contaminants for it is vital. And the nest of bees is clean. Every speck bees render out. They sweep the floor with wings-fans, blow away the tithe and dust to the notch. Thus, the bees are protected against potential diseases of dangerous wax moth and smallest bugs, readily eating their trash and which are quite harmful. All the “economy” in the nest is supervised by the worker bees.

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Worker bee

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