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Do bees sting? How much honey does a hive produce?How many bees typically live in a hive?etc.
We’ve all heard the popular expression ‘Its the bees knees’, meaning something which is the best or has everything one could wish for. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the phrase originated in the late eighteenth century meaning something very small. However, its current meaning is believed to stem from American slang in the same way as “the cat’s whiskers”. Although bees have legs with joints like any insect, they do not have a knee cap and, apart from the articulated nature of the joint, they do not technically possess knees.
Wasps begin life in the spring with a single queen wasp that has hibernated under leaves or in cracks. The queen wasp builds a new hive constructed from paper and about the size of a golf ball. This hive (or bice) builds up through the summer, but no honey is stored. In the autumn the colony organization breaks down, with homeless wasps becoming an increasing nuisance around bins and rubbish. The typical maximum population of a wasp colony is just 2,000.
Bumblebees, or as the Victorian’s called them ‘Humble bees’, are similar to wasps in that only the queen hibernates and survives the winter. In the spring the queen bumblebee seeks an old mouse- or vole- hole and builds within it a nest of leaves and moss. She constructs nodular wax cells and incubates her young as a bird would. As her first offspring hatch and begin to fly the queen increasingly stays within the hive to produce young. Bumblebees do make a small amount of honey and store it in one special cup like cell. There is no more than a tablespoon at any time. The typical maximum population of a bumblebee colony is tiny, compared to the honey bee, being between 50 and
In any hive there are three types of honey bee: a single queen; thousands of female worker bees and, in the summer, hundreds of male drones. The drone bee does no work and in the early autumn they are evicted by the workers and die.
The distance each bee flies in its life is astonishing. It is possible for bees to fly as far as 5 miles for food, however an average distance would be less than a mile from the hive. A strong colony therefore flies the equivalent distance of to the moon every day!
A honey bee will not fly much higher than the height of any obstacle in its path. The bee will learn to fly straight out from its colony at high speed and be most surprised if it strikes an new obstacle such as you standing in the way. It may lash out and you will receive a sting so be careful when walking close to the front of a busy beehive.
Mating drones will fly up to 30 meters above ground to find a queen and can go much higher if warm rising thermal air carries them so.
The normal top speed of a worker would be about 15-20mph (21-28km/h) when flying to a food source and about 12mph (17km/h) when returning laden down nectar, pollen, propolis (resin collected from tree buds) or water.
Friends of the Honey Bee is a campaign to help protect the honey bee particularly from the predations of the Varroa mite. However, there are a number of diseases affecting bees, some more serious than others. They are not infectious to humans but dangerous for the bee. Some of the most serious AFB (American Foul Brood) and EFB (European Foul Brood) are normally treated by destroying the colony (UK). If left they can spread throughout out the whole apiary and affect surrounding beekeepers. Spores from AFB can remain dormant for over 50 years in old beekeeping equipment and cause problems decades later.
Pollen is mixed with water to form a type of bread that is fed to the growing larvae. It provides a rich source of protein and fat whilst honey provides energy (carbohydrate). Bees collect about 20kg of pollen every year - that’s 1 million pollen loads at 20mg per trip!
We need people to plant more flowers wherever they live – the more flowers, the more food (forage) for the honey bees. Greater food sources enable honey bees to be much stronger in the face of disease.
A bee only stings under two conditions. To protect the colony or when frightened. When a bee stings, barbs in the lance of the sting cause it to firmly stick into the victim pulling out the venom sacs and glands when the bee is shaken off. The venom sac muscles continue to pump after these organs have been torn from the dying bee. Only the female workers and the queen can sting, the queen having a smooth sting which she uses to kill other queens, while surviving herself.
Bees use the position of the sun to navigate and there is evidence of their sensitivity to the earth’s magnetic field. Also bees' eyes are sensitive to polarized light, which penetrates through even thick cloud, so bees are able to ‘see’ the sun in poor weather.
Yes, bees' eyes are sensitive more to the blue end of the light spectrum and into ultraviolet. Flowers reflect large amounts of ultraviolet light and will appear very bright to a bee. Bees are totally red blind.
A honey bee will not fly much higher than the height of any obstacle in its path. The bee will learn to fly straight out from its colony at high speed and will be most surprised if it strikes an new obstacle, such as you standing in the way. It may lash out and you will receive a sting, so be careful when walking close to the front of a busy beehive.
Mating drones will fly up to 30 metres above ground to find a queen, and can go much higher if warm rising thermal air carries them.
The normal top speed of a worker would be about 15-20 mph (21-28 km/h), when flying to a food source, and about 12 mph (17 km/h), when returning laden down with nectar, pollen, propolis or water.
No, bees overwinter as a strong colony clustered together, using their bodies to generate heat. This cluster is about the size of a football, with bees taking turns to be on the cold outside.
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