Life of a bee family

Life of a bee family

In order to properly and effectively manage the life and activities of bee colonies in order to increase their productivity and maximize the use of bees for pollinating many crops, the beekeeper must know not only the structure and functions of individual bee family, but also the life of the bee family as a whole, its life functions and behavior.

The life and development of a bee family depends mainly on the conditions of the external environment in which it lives: on the quantity and quality of the feed, the season, temperature conditions, housing, etc., extracted from it. At the same time, the bee family, using environmental conditions, creates the proper conditions for itself, namely: the temperature of the nest, the humidity of the air in it, prepares the food for the brood, ensures the growth of the number of the individuals of the family, etc. Within the bee family there is the most complex interdependence

and interconnection of some individuals with a friend E. Therefore, the bee family as a whole is considered a biological unit. But bee colonies are different in strength, that is, in the number of their composition. This difference depends most on the conditions in which families are located. At the same time of the season, for example, in the summer, bee colonies, developing under favorable conditions, are large, or, as they are called, strong, having 50-60 thousand bees or more; in others, somewhat worse conditions, they are smaller, medium in strength, and in some cases – weak.

The science and practical experience of the advanced beekeepers of our country show that only strong families can most fully use good environmental conditions and withstand unfavorable conditions. Only in a normal strong family there are the best conditions for the life and development of all its individuals. Only in strong families,

the interconnection between individuals is most widely and fully realized, and the conditions for their activity improve. Therefore, the first tasks of beekeepers are to create the best conditions for the development, life and activity of bee colonies, so that they are strong throughout the year. For the successful fulfillment of these tasks, it is first of all necessary to know the vital functions of the bee family, their interdependence and interrelationship, as well as the requirements for the conditions of the environment, both individuals and the family as a whole.

The queen bee.

The family usually has only one uterus. She is the only fully developed female and she alone lays eggs.

In appearance, the uterus is not difficult to distinguish from working bees and drones. It is thinner than a drone, but much longer (22-25 mm). The weight of a good uterus is from 250 to 300 mg and more. As a rule, the larger the womb, the better.

Of the young, still barren uterus, usually the best are those who have a longer abdomen. The wings of the uterus seem shorter than the bees, but this is explained by the longer length of the abdomen of the uterus; in fact they are somewhat longer than bees. The movements of the fetus are slow and smooth. Young barren uterus move quickly.

The uterus of the eye is less developed than that of the worker’s bee, and the tongue is shorter; on his feet there are no baskets to collect pollen. It can not emit milk, and has no wax-releasing glands. The excretory gland is highly developed.

Uterus is derived from fertilized eggs usually at a time when bees are preparing for swarming. At other times, the uterus is removed only if the bees change the uterus or are deprived of it. Uterine cells are brought up in special cells-queen cells. After 15-16 days after the egg is laid in the bowl, the uterus is obtained from it. The quality of the uterus depends to a large extent on how abundantly it was fed by the bees, being in the stage of the larva. Good breeding of uterine larvae occurs only in a strong family in the presence of a bribe and other favorable conditions. The development of the genital organs of the uterus continues even after it leaves the mother cell. Therefore, it is important that the barren uterus is also in good conditions.

After reaching 3-5 days of age, the uterus takes off for an approximate flight, and later (usually on the 7th day after the release) – to meet the drones and mating.

This sortie of the uterus is called a marriage departure or a marriage loss. Marriage flight takes place in good weather at the warmest time (from 11 to 3 hours) of the day.

If, due to bad weather or for some other reason, the fertilization of the uterus does not occur within 3-6 weeks, the uterus remains unfertilized. She will begin to put exclusively drone eggs, and therefore such queens are called drone. Those uterus that mated with the drones, that is, fertilized, are called fruit.

Eggplantation of the fetus depends on many conditions. With the approach of spring and early spring, while it is cold, there is no bribe in nature and families have not yet achieved much strength, the uterus places few eggs, several dozen a day. But with the increase in the strength of the bee family and the honey harvest, egg laying increases. At the height of the masonry, which is predominantly in May and June, a good uterus can lay 1500-2000 eggs within 24 hours, and much more under very favorable conditions. After the end of the honey harvest, egg laying is reduced and finally completely stops.

The uterus will never lay eggs, without first examining the cell. To this end, she pushes the head into the cell, and if the cell is suitable, she immediately drops the abdomen into the cell and puts the egg. At the same time, it clings tightly to the edges of the claws of the hind legs.

The weight of eggs laid by the uterus in one day under favorable conditions exceeds the body weight of the bee itself. With such an intensive egg laying, the uterus should eat strongly.

From time to time, after about half an hour, the uterus stops to rest from laying eggs and get food from the bees. Part of the uterus feeds and honey, which it takes from the cells itself.

As the masonry shrinks, the number of bees accompanying the uterus decreases. The feeding of the uterus decreases.

The life expectancy of the uterus is about 5 years, but usually it lays eggs well for the first 2 years. Mothers have an instinct of enmity among themselves, so in a prosperous family there is one uterus, but in the swarm period there are several young barren uterus. Sometimes there are cases of cohabitation of two fetuses in one family. This phenomenon is more common in southern bees.

Life of a bee family

Fig. 27. Fistula queen on the honeycomb.

Now it is established that in most cases bees do not remain indifferent if there are several marriages in the family: for example, from the number of simultaneously withdrawn in the family or given to it the queens – some immediately begin to be serviced, fed and protected, and others – surrounded on all sides and “choke.” It is believed that bees have an instinct that allows them to determine the suitability of the queens for the family, which allows them to exercise a certain selectivity in this case.

But it happens sometimes, although it is rare that in one family for some time peacefully live two fetuses, or one-fruit, and the other barren. Usually in such cases the mother and daughter live. This happens when the bees themselves replace the uterus. Violation of the normal laying of eggs due to old age of the uterus causes the bees to prepare uterine bowls; in which the uterus lays the testicles.

Thus, a young uterus is excreted, fertilized, and often within 3-4 weeks, two uterus peacefully lay eggs in one family. If a beehive brood and two or three mother liquors are in the hive at an unusual time, and if in this case among the bee brood the drone brood and bee cells can be seen here and there, this is a sure sign that the bees are changing their old uterus to a young one.

When the uterus is accidentally killed or deliberately taken away, and the hive has fertilized eggs or young bee larvae, the bees are taken for the withdrawal of the uterus. In this case, they choose several eggs or larvae and begin to care for them as they take care of the uterine larvae. The bee’s cell is reworked into the mother liquor. So the withdrawn uterus is called fistulous. If the fistula is removed from an egg or young larva and grown in a family prepared for this under good conditions, then it is no worse than swarms.

Fistula queen cells are more often laid not on the rib, but in the middle of the honeycomb, where the bee brood is excreted.

Not all uterus are the same in quality. It depends on their nature and the conditions in which they were derived. But even the best uterus can not lay eggs well in poor conditions: in a weak family, in a cold nest, with a lack of food or bad honeycombs. The uterine egg color depends to the greatest extent on the intensity of its feeding by bees, on the strength of the family and on the availability of free prepared cells.

Working bees, their properties and behavior.

Young bees. The activity of bees in the family depends on the structure and sequence of development of the bee’s organs, on the state of the family itself and on external causes, such as temperature, bribe-taking, etc.

Completely developed and ready to go the bee gnaws the lid of its cell and, having climbed out from there, begins to put itself in order: it cleans the head, eyes, antennae, wings, etc. with the legs.

Young bees that have just emerged from cells reach an average of 12-13 mm in length and weigh about 100 mg each.

They are gray, tender, weak and incapable of flying and working. For the most part, the released bees in the first 1-2 days are inactive and sit on the honeycomb. At this time, their body is growing stronger. Occasionally they interrupt their rest and are accepted for cleaning the cells. Then gradually young bees are involved in the performance of various hive works, such as: feeding and heating brood, receiving and processing nectar, building honeycomb.

The main occupation of young bees is the heating and feeding of brood, why they are called bees by nurses. At this age in young bees there are highly developed glands that produce milk. Bees often look in cells with ovaries and add food to them.

Recently, Soviet scientists have revealed that the same young bees are fed on the same day as older larvae – a mixture of honey and perga, and young larvae and queens – with milk.

It is also established that the sequence of work performed by young bees in the hive period of their life is not the same for different bees of the same family.

At every moment in the hive there are many works that are carried out by bees. In this case, several bees are successively producing the same work. For example, cleaning one cell of a cell is done as follows: one bee begins this work, after it continues another, then a third, and so on.

Each bee for one or two hours is busy doing several different hive works, but the work that she started does not finish. Such works as sealing the cell of the brood, cleaning the cell, filling it with honey, chopping off the lid from the cell or sealing the cell with honey, the bee only completes if this work was previously started and largely performed by other bees.

On average, seven days after birth, young bees begin to fly out of the hive. Usually at noon time, with a warm good weather between 11 and 3 o’clock in the afternoon, young bees come out of the beehive in large numbers and fly before the fly, heads to the hive. This is called the loss or flight of bees.

In this case, the bees cleanse their intestines from the undigested remains of food accumulated in them and get acquainted with the location of their home. The total duration of overflights is 20-30 minutes.

Gradually, during further flights, bees describe larger and larger circles, trying to remember not only their hive, its shape and color, but also the location of the hive and its surroundings. Without this, they could not quickly find their hive. In good weather, bees make overflights daily.

Especially strong flight with the characteristic buzz of flying young bees occurs after inclement weather. If the hives stand close to each other, the young bees of weak families often go to a strong rumble of a neighboring, stronger family. At the same time, there is an undesirable strengthening of some families at the expense of others.

Strong overflights of bees indicate that the family is healthy and strong. Weak, sick and orphaned families, while still having brood, make a faint flight without producing characteristic sounds.

Flight bees. 5-10 days after the first flight, and sometimes earlier, the bees have already looked so much at the hive and have become familiar with the terrain that they are already starting to fly for nectar and pollen. Since then, they are called flying bees, in contrast to the young, called non-flying.

The timing of the transition of non-flying bees to flight can significantly vary depending on the external conditions and the state of the family. So, during a copious bribe, bees become flight much earlier. The same happens when a significant part of flying bees is lost.

The transition of bees from non-flying to flying can be delayed when preparing the family for swarming. In addition, in the same family, different bees pass from non-flying to flying not at the same time. Bees in the first period of their flying activity for some time can continue to take part in the performance of the hive works.

Bees can fly for nectar (bribe), if it is not near, very far (sometimes for 5-6 km), but a productive flight, performed many times a day, is considered to fly to a distance of 11 / 2-2 km. The closer the source of a bribe, the better it is used by bees and the more efficient the pollination of flowering plants will be.

Memory of bees.

Daily observations of the life of bees indicate that flying bees have a good memory. They fly far behind the prey in different directions, but find the way home, find their hive and can return to the location of the prey.

They well remember the place where their hive is located, its color, shape, height and direction of the tap, etc. If the beehives in the apiary are not densely distributed and have different colors, then, flying up to their hive, the bee easily finds it among the other hives and gets right into his box. The ability to find your hive gradually acquires an automatic character.

It is enough to move the hive to the side by 0.5 m, as the arriving bees will be confused. At the same time, bees can very well adapt their behavior to changing circumstances.

For example, if you move a beehive daily for 20-30 cm, then the bees get used to this, and over time you can move it daily for a longer distance. When moving the hive in the direction of flight, the bees find the leaves much easier than when they move it aside. How do bees find their beehive if they fly far, often for three kilometers or more.

This is explained as follows. Young bees fly only at the tap. If these bees are carried a few meters from the hive, they do not return to their hive. With each passing day the circle of the flight increases, and the bees acquire a conditioned reflex to the place of habitation. Therefore, they return to their hive from more remote places than in the first days of flying around.

The old bees are in a state; return if they are attributed for 3 or even 4 km. Obviously, they improve in this respect by acquiring skill, experience. It is also known that if the beehive is moved 30-50 cm in any direction, the returning bees are looking for a leaflet in the old place. If the hive is close, they soon find it, if for several meters, they can not find it at all.

From here it is clear that if bees were attracted only by the smell of a beehive, then for old bees it would not be difficult to find a beehive transferred even for several tens of meters or more from the old place, while insignificant movement, by 30-50 cm, entry into the hive, bees “pushed” in the air.

Therefore, it is most likely that bees are guided mainly by sight. They memorize various objects near which they fly by the exit from the hive, as well as the shape, color and relative position of the hives, and return in the same way.

Young bees that have not yet flown out of the hive, and therefore do not remember either the external species of the hive, or the place where it stands, will remain in another’s hive if they are transplanted there. On the contrary, old flying bees will return to their original place with such a transplant.

If the beehive with the bees is carried far away, and in its place a new hive similar to the first is installed, and, in addition, put so that the summer is in the same place, all flight bees will fall into this new hive.

If a beehive with bees is moved from place to place by half a meter, and on the other hand at the same distance from this place another similar beehive is placed, then the bees, flying from the field, will separate and will go to both beehives. This arrangement of two hives on the sides of the place where one of them was standing is called a half-year arrangement.

This technique is widely used in the practice of beekeeping in the formation of new families – layers. When transporting bees for a few kilometers they produce approximate flying around again. In order to avoid the flights of flying bees to the old place, the transportation of bees to another place should not be made closer than 4 or 5 km.

Since the bees are guided by sight when determining the place of their hive, the beekeepers, in order to help the bees quickly find their hives among many of the same beehives in the apiary, paint them in different colors, and arrange hives near trees and shrubs, placing them in groups of 2- 3, irregular rows, and so on.

All this allows the bees to quickly find their hive. A sense of time in bees. Many observations show that bees are able to determine the time intervals.

For example, if bees are given food in a certain place and at a certain time (hours), then after a few days of such training they will develop a conditioned reflex to the place and time and there will be a massive arrival of bees here during the feeding hours. If you produce 2-3 additional fertilizers per day, then the bees will only be able to distinguish the time intervals between the feedings, when they are not shorter than two hours.

Bees quickly adapt to the time (hours) of the largest selection, nectar flowers and visit them during these hours. Therefore, when the bees are trained to fly to certain plants, the syrup with the smell of this plant is desirable, fed before the honey begins to liberate the most abundant nectar.

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Разведение пчел в лежаках.
Life of a bee family