A beekeeper, or apiarist, keeps bees in an apiary. Most beekeepers use a movable frame hive called Langstroth invented by American Reverend Langstroth.
Inside the beehive, the bees build cells upon the sheet of wax or plastic foundation in order to create complete honeycombs. But how do honey bees inside exactly operate? Let us take a closer look at these fascinating insects.
The body of honeybees is divided into three parts:
They are social insects that live in hives. They have six legs, a pair of antennae, jointed legs, compound eyes, and a hard exoskeleton.
All the bees inside the hive are related to one another. Honeybees eat nectar which they turn into honey. The life cycle of bees is fascinating in itself as they undergo a complete metamorphosis. It starts with the queen laying eggs in a cell inside the wax comb.
These immature bees are called broods. When the egg hatches, it turns into a larva that looks like a worm. Then it finally pupates into an adult bee.
Life Cycle of Bees
Bees are like butterflies that go through several stages in their life.
1. Egg -the queen lays soft white eggs in the comb. The egg stage lasts for three days.
2. Larva – after three days, the egg hatches into a larva. Worker bees feed the larva with milk and bee bread. The larva will spin a cocoon around itself. The larva stage is from day 4 until day 9.
3. Pupa – the larva then turns into a pupa while inside the cocoon. During this stage, it will develop eyes, wings, and legs. This stage usually lasts from day 10 to 23.
4. Adult – the bee finally reached full growth. It chews its way out of the cell. This is the complete metamorphosis of the bee.
Body Parts of Bees
The body of honeybees is divided into three major parts which are the head, thorax, and abdomen. Let learn about the body parts of bees.
1. Head – This part is dominated by two large compound eyes. In between these compound eyes, there are three small ocelli or simple eyes. The bees have a different vision as compared to humans.
2. Antennae – This part is found at the center of the face. It is made of a basal stalk or scrape and another longer segmented flagellum.
3. Mouth – The mouth of the bees is consists of the mandibles or the jaws which are sling from the head at the sides. Their mandibular gland of the queen secretes a substance responsible for the maintenance of the social organization of the colony.
4. Thorax – This is the middle part of their body where the legs and the wings are attached. Each pair of legs to carry out different activities for the bee’s grooming and for pollen collection.
5. Abdomen – This part is located near the digestive and reproductive organs. The sting is can be seen in the last part of the abdomen.
Being a social insect, a honeybee can fly about 15 mph, collect nectar from flower to flower, and bring it back to the hive. The three types of bees with varying duties inside the hive are:
1. The queen who lays eggs
2. The workers who basically do much of the work like gathering food, tending to eggs, building honeycombs, and guarding the hive
3. The drones are male bees whose main duty is to mate with the queen.
4. Being Social creatures, a colony of honeybees have no self-value and instinctively work as a whole in order to survive. Now you know what’s going on inside the honeybee hive. Next, we are going to take a look at the basic pieces of equipment you will need in beekeeping.
How Bees Communicate
One of the first animal languages to be studied is the language of bees. Karl von Frisch, an Austrian zoologist, discovered a system of communication that allows worker bees to relate to the rest of the colony.
The touch is their way of communication. After they return from the hive, they perform dances.
This dance is of two types, it can be either- circular dance or eight-figures. The circular dance is performed to specify the location of food sources that are located even a hundred backyards away.
Whereas in figure-eight dances, the bees waggle their bodies specifying a location that is far away from the food which is generally up to several miles from the hive.
Studies have revealed that they have a precise way of communicating about the location of food. They are capable of accurately tracking the food sources within 20 degrees in direction and within 15 percent of the distance.