Honey bee Colony
- Honey bees in a hive is called a Colony and will consist of a Queen and a number of drones (males) and workers (females).
- During the laying season there will be between 20,000 to 80,000 bees in the colony.
Queen honey bee
- The Queen honey bee is the largest bee in the hive and is female.
- She can be recognised quite easily as her wings are only half as long as her body.
- The worker bees surrounding the Queen always facing her in a circle around her.
- In a managed hive the queen will be identified with a coloured spot on her thorax. The colour defines the year that she emerged.
- She does have a sting which detracts into her body and is used solely to defend herself with from being attacked by other queens.
- She mates only once with numerous Drones (males) in one go.
- She can lay up to 2000 eggs a day.
- She also has control of what sex comes from the egg. If she fertilizes the egg it is female else, it will be a male.
- She lives for between 5 and 7 years.
- Drones are male bees and there aim in life is to mate with a queen and gorge on honey in the hive.
- Around September most of the drones will be kicked out of the hive so that the hive’s honey stock is preserved for the queen and workers during the winter months.
- A Drone is larger than a worker bee and slightly smaller than a queen.
- A Drone has slightly larger eyes than a worker bee.
- The smallest bee in the hive and is female.
- Depending on the time of season, there will be between 20,000 to 80, 000 in the hive.
- They look after the eggs that the queen lays.
- They can also influence the sex of the emerging bee as they make larger cells for drones than for workers.
- They are able to make new queens by feeding the egg with royal jelly.
- They keep the hive clean, act as sentries at the hive entrance and forage for nectar and pollen.
- They are famous for their ‘waggle dance’ that is a movement which they do to tells their mates where to find nectar and pollen.
- Their life span is roughly 6 months if they are a winter bee and only 6 weeks if they are a spring/summer bee. Spring/Summer bees literally work themselves to death collect food to enable the colony to survive in the winter.
- Consists of around 15,000 bees, a Queen on 5 frames containing a mixture of healthy brood and food stocks.
- An enclosed structure in which honey bees live and raise their young.
- To enable the brood to develop normally bees will keep the brood nest between 32 – 35 degrees centigrade.
- There are approximately 20,000 species of bees in the world of which the honey bee is just one.
Honeybee Waggle Dance
When a worker bee returns to the hive with either nectar or pollen it passes on the location of where it has been by doing a figure of eight dance which has been named the waggle dance. The direction the bee moves in relation to the hive is the direction and the duration of the dance indicates the distance from the hive where the food can be found. If the bee moves vertically within the hive it indicates the direction is direct towards the sun.