The bee family and its composition

The bee family and its composition

Honey bees, like ants, bumblebees and wasps, refer to “socially” living insects. They live in large families and have a number of biological characteristics.

Usually the family of bees consists of one uterus, several tens of thousands of worker bees and several hundred drones.

In families that are in a happy state, drones are only in the summer. With the termination of a bribe, they are expelled from their families and die, and in the spring of next year others are removed.

No individual bee family apart from the family for a long time can not exist.

Under favorable conditions, the number of families can reach up to 80-100 thousand workers’ bees and 3-4 thousand drones.

The bee family and its composition

Fig. 1. Three individuals of the bee family: 1-womb, 2 – working bee, 3 – drone.

In bees, unlike bumblebees, wasps and hornets, not only the uterus but also the worker bees overwinter. This ensures the long-term existence of the family and its rapid development in the spring.

Reproduction of bee colonies occurs by digestion. When you swarm from a family, part of it is separated, usually with an old uterus, but sometimes with young uterus. Natural swarms from the hive are usually planted on tree branches or on other objects, which makes it possible for the beekeeper to easily collect a swarm of bees and settle in a new hive. This feature of bees was very important in the past, when families multiplied on apiaries only by natural swarming.

An important feature of honey bees is that they collect food not only for daily food, but also for stock, and their collective ability is very high. In some cases, in natural conditions, in the hollows of trees, nests of honey bees with honey reserves of several hundred kilograms were found, which was a prey for a number of years. Usually the stocks of

honey in such families are very small.

In conditions of apiaries, with a good fodder base and proper care for bees, each bee family can collect a lot of nectar and process it into honey. Examples of this can be seen in the apiaries, where advanced beekeepers work.

The peculiarity of honey bees is that they build their habitation in a peculiar way, not just like other kinds of bees (except Ussuri bee).

In natural conditions, honey bee families arrange their housing in tree hollows or in clefts of rocks, where they build wax structures – honeycombs. The honeycombs on which the bee colony is located and lives are usually called a nest.

The nest of bees consists of several vertical two-sided honeycombs, built by bees from the wax emitted by them.

Each honeycomb consists of two layers of cells densely in contact with each other, the bottoms of which converge, and the holes are directed in opposite directions. At the same time, the bottom of the cells common to both rows constitute the median wall of the cell, called mediastinum.

The bee family and its composition

Bees build cells hexagonal (six-walled) the bottom of them is not flat, but has the appearance of a triangular pyramid, all three faces of which are diamonds.

The cells are located on both sides not directly one against the other, but so that each of the diamonds of the bottom of this cell serves as a part of the bottom of one of the three opposite cells. Therefore, for greater strength, the top of the bottom of each cell rests on the edges of three cells of the opposite side of the cell. The walls of the cells are extremely thin, and the edges are considerably thickened, which gives them strength, and are covered with propolis (bee glue); thanks to this, bees freely walk on the honeycomb without damaging the walls. The walls of the cells inside are also covered with propolis.

Honeycombs are a room for brood bee family, and also serve to fold honey and pollen collected by bees from the flowers of plants. Accordingly, the cells are of different sizes, and some even have a special form, for example, the uterine cells (queen cells), which are not at all similar to other cells.

The bee and drone cells can be located not completely horizontally, but are somewhat inclined upward (4-5 њ, and sometimes more), which facilitates filling them with honey.

Honey cells, that is, cells designed specifically for folding honey, are not only elongated, but even more than others, are bent upward. Often after consumption of honey, these cells are gnawed by bees again to normal depth.

Smaller cells serve for the withdrawal of workers’ bees, and therefore are called bees. Cells larger serve for the removal of drones and are called drone.

From honeycombs, you can drain honey without damaging it. This feature played a large role in the “domestication” of bees and the development of beekeeping.

Bees have the property to maintain in the nest the temperature and humidity necessary for them, thus creating the best conditions for the development of brood in the spring-summer period and the proper regime inside the nest during other seasons, which is very important in the life of the bee family.

Bees are characterized by high adaptability to various environmental conditions, as a result of which they are successfully bred in all regions of our country where there is a sufficient for the bees fodder base and appropriate conditions for development.

The bee family and its composition

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The bee family and its composition