Bees Play A Crucial Role In The Propagation Of Plant Life
June 28, 2017 - Stinging Insects
Queen bees mate and lay eggs for the entire span of their lives and can sometimes live up to five years, though the average lifespan is only about two to three years. Male drones, on the other hand, exist solely to fertilize the queen, and die soon after they do so.
Alternatively, female worker bees perform a variety of tasks around the hive and ensure that things continue to run smoothly within the population. Most of the time, these duties include the collection of pollen for the nourishment of the developing brood, but their roles also extend to honey sealing, grooming and feeding the queen, honeycomb building, pollen packing, carrying water, guarding the hive, and ensuring that dead drones and failed larvae are removed from the hive. As a result of their near-ceaseless toil, the life spans of these female workers rarely last longer than six weeks.
All bees are covered in thin hairs, which is crucial for pollination. They are attracted to blooming flowers and fruits, at which point they’ll alight on a blossom and collect pollen in specially-evolved pollen baskets on their back legs. As a bee travels from one blossom to another, some of this pollen will rub off into the pistil of the second plant, resulting in cross-pollination. Almost all of humanity’s food supply is dependent upon pollination by honey bees.
While only female worker bees can collect and transfer pollen from plant to plant, all bees can drink nectar—their primary source of energy—through a tongue-like proboscis. After the nectar is collected, females can convert it into honey with the help of a cocktail of specialized enzymes in their stomachs. This nectar is then transported back to the hive and deposited into wax cells where it eventually evaporates into honey.
While swarms are not unheard of, they’re generally not considered a threat unless the species in question happens to be the Africanized honey bee or “killer” bee, as it’s colloquially known. Swarming usually only occurs in robust and thriving populations and often occurs as a result of overcrowding. Swarms occur when the queen, accompanied by a contingent of workers, leaves the original colony in search of a new nesting site.
The swarm will commonly stop at a resting place before sending out scouts to locate a suitable location for a new nest, such as a hollow log or similar cavity. The swarm will then relocate to the new nesting site and begin to build the hive anew.
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