Fun Bee Facts
Wax is secreted from glands in a honeybee's abdomenal segments that is used to build comb. Natural beeswax comb is built from the top down, and a straight wooden guide can provide a good start.
Honeybees will collect pollen on their back legs as they forage. Pollen comes in all different colors from white to orange to blue and gray. Pollen is an important source of protein for honeybees.
Honey, Can You Pass Me The Honey?
By removing moisture from nectar, and then capping the resultant cell of honey with a wax cap, honeybees preserve their food for future use. By storing honey in the absence of air and water in a dark place, it will last for many years. But, who wants to wait that long to eat it?
Generally, there is only one queen per hive, and unlike the typical 42-day lifespan of most honeybees, the queen can live 2-4 years. The entire colony depends on the queen to lay thousands of eggs per day to maintain a healthy population for the colony to survive. As seen in this image, the queen has attendants that look after her every need.
Most honeybees in a hive are female. The male bee, or "drone" is larger, with bigger eyes, and no stinger. Drones do very little work in the hive, mostly consuming food and leaving the hive for mating flights. When a drone mates with a queen, his penis explodes and he dies.
Eggs and Larvae
Eggs laid by the queen bee will initially remain upright in the bottom of the cell before falling over and hatching into larvae after about 3 days. Can you see the eggs and larvae in these cells?
Why Do Bees Need Water?
Water is a crucial resource for honeybee survival. Bees gather water and bring it back to the hive to use in the process of regulating hive temperature by evaporating the water. They also mix water with nectar and pollen to produce the jelly that is fed to the young developing bees.
Bee Life Cycle
Eggs laid by the queen hatch in 3 days into larvae, then transform to pupae in a capped cell. The new bee emerges from a capped cell in the honeycomb. From the time the egg is laid, a queen emerges in 16 days, a worker bee emerges in 21 days, and a drone emerges in 24 days. From the time a worker bee emerges, their lifespan is 35-45 days.
Not All Honeybees Sting
male honeybees, or "Drones", do not have stingers. There are very few male bees in a colony. In the Fall when resources start to dwindle, the colony will evict the drones from the hive. Seen here is a collection of homeless drones that were evicted in Fall 2020.
Honeybees collect pollen when it is available and they store it in cells within honeycomb to have a stable supply that provides protein and other nutrients for the bees and larvae. The color of pollen stored will vary depending on the flowering plants and tree blossoms that the bees foraged to gather pollen.
Where Do Bees Go?
Most honeybees in a colony exist inside the hive. Throughout their lifespan, honeybees will take on different tasks, from nursing the young, cleaning, guarding the hive, and foraging for nectar and pollen. Foragers will leave the hive to gather nectar and pollen during the day, and usually return by dusk. The queen will rarely leave the hive, either to mate once in her life if she is a virgin, or to swarm and relocate.