Springtime For The Bee
As the days get longer with the onset of spring, the mass of bees clinging to the combs start to feel the slight increase in temperature, and the cluster begins to move. Those bees on the outside of t...
As the days get longer with the onset of spring, the mass of bees clinging to the combs start to feel the slight increase in temperature, and the cluster begins to move. Those bees on the outside of the cluster move into the warmer centre of the group, and those on the inside start to move to the outside, making their way to venture out into the world again.
The beekeeper, who should by now be watching for signs of activity, will be pleased to see these first emissaries coming out of the hive. First one or two, then a few, then many will find their way out. They don't go far, or stay out for very long initially. They refresh their memories on their hive surroundings. Feed from stores, and get themselves ready for life on the treadmill. Gathering food for the hive.
At this time the Queen is stirring, she produces a pheromone which tells the hive that breeding time has started again. General activity then spreads throughout the hive. Now the Queen will start moving in a small circle to begin with, going from cell to cell. Examining each one, and when satisfied laying an egg in it. The new eggs are cared for by the "nurse" bees, whose sole job it is to care and attend to them. After three days the eggs hatch, and the resulting grub is is fed by the nurses for five days on honey and pollen collected from flowers the previous season, and stored for the purpose.The cell is then sealed with wax, and kept warm by the nurse bees until, after a week, a perfect fully formed new bee emerges. Ready to involve themselves in the increasingly busy life of the colony. In the meantime the Queen has enlarged her brood, moving onto fresh combs. Now, with new bees being produced constantly, the population is growing at a great rate.
Wax production and comb building now starts, with the bees responsible feeding themselves from the previously stored honey. They form into compact clusters, generating the high temperatures necessary for them to produce it. This wax is prepared in the mouth, then transferred to the "builders" to make the comb. The comb is an amazing piece of engineering, having the shape and form which gives the greatest possible strength, with the least expenditure of materials, time, and labour.
Other bees are the sanitation crew. Their job entails general cleaning of the hive. They remove the winters dead bees. Also any dead cells, which could be a cause of infection in the hive. The floor, which over the winter will have aquired a carpet of broken comb, pollen pellets, and dust, is swept. Ensuring that all is clean and infection free, ready for the new season ahead.
Still more "sentry" bees are employed around the entrance to the hive in order to ensure that only bees from their own hive are allowed entry. They will vigorously defend their hive against any attempt by robber bees, wasps, and any other would be thief to gain access to their colony and it's riches. Any beekeeper who has witnessed their sentries in action against marauders will know they will give their lives for the good of the hive, and they do.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Despite a busy life as an entrepreneur and information publisher, Chris Haycock enjoys a variety of interests. Beekeeping is one of these. If you would like to know more about beekeeping you are recommended to go to http://www.secretsofbeekeeping.com