Defining A Honeybee, Its Social Structure and Key Roles

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A honeybee can simply be described as the insect that produces honey. It was brought to North America by early European settlers. Honeybees are naturally not aggressive insects. They will seldom sting unless they are defending their beehive from intruders. They can also harm if provoked. These insects symbolize a very organized society where each caste of bees has special roles to play during their lifespan. In addition, their beehive is a permanent thing. In the winter season it remains inactive because the honeybees have to cluster together to feel warm. Studies show that clustering allows bees to maintain the temperature level, inside the beehive, at ninety-three degrees Fahrenheit.

A honey bee's social structure

Honeybees consist of three social groups. The first one is the queen bee. There is always one queen in a beehive and she can live for three to five years. Her work is to reproduce and fill the beehive. She can lay up to two thousand eggs each day, after mating with a drone (a male bee) only once. All fertilized eggs become worker bees or female bees while unfertilized eggs become drones. When her fertility diminishes or her life ends, a new beehive queen is picked from the young larva.

It is fed a diet of royal jelly or bee milk for sixteen days. Without a queen bee your hive has no future. The worker bee makes up the next social group. She is a hardworking, infertile female bee. During the summer season, about eighty thousand worker bees are busy collecting pollen and nectar from plants. They live only for six weeks. During winter, about twenty to thirty thousand worker bees stay inactive inside a hive. They can therefore live for four to nine months. Their daily chores are difficult and tiring, including construction, nursing, undertaking, guarding and foraging.

If a worker bee stings a human being or another living thing once, her life comes to an end. Drone bees make up the third caste. The main role of a drone or a male bee is to mate with a virgin queen bee. He has a pointed reproductive organ which causes his death after mating with a young queen. A beehive naturally has about three hundred to three thousand drones. A drone bee lacks a stinger, and so he can not defend the hive during winter months. They are actually dragged out of the hive during fall.

A honey bee's end products

Worker bees have a full responsibility of maintaining a beehive. They produce a number of end products that are very useful to human beings and other bees. One of these is pollen, which refers to the male germ cells generated by flowering trees and flowers for fertilization purposes. A honeybee rains plollen from the fields and eats it. Pollen is highly nutritious. It contains thirty-five percent protein, ten percent sugars, B complex vitamins, vitamin A, C, R and H, minerals, carbohydrates and enzymes. Because of eating pollen, worker bees are able to produce honey, beeswax, royal jelly, bee venom and propolis. All of these are safe for human consumption.



Source EzineArticles by Balas Raluca

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