Bee<<<< Back to insects
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Insecta
- Order: Hymenoptera
- Suborder: Apocrita
- Superfamily: Apoidea
- Family: Coccinellidae
- Conservation status: Least concern
- Length: 1.1 - 1.3 cm
- Lifespan: 12 months - 3 years
- Reproduction: Eggs
Bees are flying insects, classified in the Apoidea superfamily, Apocrita suborder, that also contains wasps and ants, to which bees are very related. It can be met on all continents, except Antarctica; the known number of species is 20,000 but probably more are still waiting to be discovered.
The romanian bee (Apis mellifera carpatica) formed in specific pedo-climatic conditions in the Carpathian-Danubian area. The continental climate in our country is characterized by relatively low rainfall, high temperature variations and strong winds.
There are different apiarian areas where bees like to fly. Here are few of them:
1. Plain areas
2. Hilly areas
3. Western Plain
Bees are adapted to feeding on nectar and pollen, first as a source of energy (due to sugar content), the second as source of proteins (more used to feeding larvae). The nectar is obtained from flower plants by using the tube.
Many bee species are less known. The smallest is the dwarf bee (Trigona minima) with a length of about 2.1 mm (5/64”). The largest bee in the world is Megachile pluto, which can reach a length of 39mm (1.5”). The most common types of bees in the northern hemisphere are the Halictidae species, or the bees attracted by sweat, small bees often wrongly considered wasps or flies. The most common species of bee is the european bee (Apis mellifera). The care of this bee species is called beekeeping or apiculture. It is a productive bee, in exceptional harvest conditions the honey production can reach 50-60 kg/family. The trunk has a length of 6.02 to 6.64 mm, the length of the back wing 9.0-9.4 mm.
In the bee family there are three kinds of individuals: queen, worker bees and bee drones.
Worker bees: Their number varies, fluctuating from 10,000 in winter, up to 40000-80000 in summer. They are smaller (12-14mm), weighing approx. 100mg and their wings of the same length as the abdomen. In fact workers are females with underdeveloped reproductive organs.
Queen: The only fertilized female in the hive, being responsible with breeding bee families. Usually there is only one queen in the hive, with a longer body (20-25 mm), small head, highly developed abdomen, smaller wings and weighing 250-280 mg.
Drones: Are males that mate with the queen, being present in the hive from spring to autumn. There are several hundred of drones in the hive, with a length of 15-17 mm, wings that are longer than the abdomen, globular head and a weight of 200 mg.
In a year the bee family has a different development, the number of individuals increases or decreases depending on the season and environmental conditions. Basically the bee family’s life comprises four main periods.
First period : It is characterized by the replacement of old bees that came out of winter, with young bees, that came out in spring. Around the end of February, the queen begins to lay eggs in the honeycomb cells, where thermal regime allows brooding. After bees finish their cleansing flight, the queen lays even more eggs. As it gets warmer the queen will lay close to1,000 eggs a day, old bees that wear out gradually being replaced. The percentage of young bees constantly grows and at the end of April almost all bees will be replaced. It is known that a young bee has a high output in taking care of larvae, being able to feed 2,3 or even 4, family development pace is very high.
Second period: Also called the growth phase. Nectar and pollen are found in abundance and the drones will start showing up. The queen is fed well, laying more that 2000 eggs/day, the number of nurse bees grows reaching the situation in which 3-4 nurses care for a larva. When this phenomenon coincides with other favorable factors (lack of space, insufficient ventilation etc.), swarming fever occurs.
Bees build queen cells, in which the queen lays eggs every few days. At the entrance you can observe beards of bees due to the high congestion that exists in the hive. One to three days after the queen cells get closed up , first swarming occurs, the queen and some young bees leave the hive accompanied by a large number of bee drones. This swarm, called the primary swarm, contains almost 50% of the hive population. It will stop, after a few minutes of flying, on a branch or some other support, and then it will fly again to another destination.
In the main family, 8 days after closing up the queen cells, the first young queen will come out. Her intention is to kill the queens that haven’t hatched yet, and she will succeed if allowed by the other bees. If the family is still swarming, the bees won’t let the young queen kill her sisters, and on the 9th day since the primary swarm, a second swarm along the unpaired queen will come out. Their swarming can be delayed by bad weather (rainy). When this happens, this cluster contains several young queens.
The lifespan of worker bees depends on the degree of wear as a result of intense activities undertaken by them ( nursing and the activity of picking nectar and pollen). Thus bees, hatched in the active season ( spring, March through summer around August) live only 40 days, when the bees hatched in autumn live until next spring, when the shift of generations takes place (6-9 months).
Bee drones lifespan is between two and eight weeks and varies according to the season (active or dormant) and geographic area. The queen bee lives the longest, up to 8 years ( economically efficient just a year or two, then she is changed), active throughout her lifetime, laying from 1500 to 2500 or even 3000 eggs in 24 hours in June. In this period of intense lodging, the queen is carefully taken cared for and well fed by her bees. In the bee families that die during winter from lack of food, the queen is the last to die, being nourished with the last drop of honey.
Did you know that:
The bee is the symbol of diligence and loyalty?
The bee is the only insect domesticated by man?
A single bee collects about 50 grams of honey.
To collect 1 kg of honey, a bee should scout 2-5 million flowers and travel a distane equal to circumnavigate the globe.
Bees can travel over 80,000 kilometers.
The bee has two large eyes for distance and compounds for details, colors, etc. , plus three simple eyes for close.
Bees can be used to detect mines.
Bees have no ears.