While bees are feared for their painful stings, they are an essential part of the earth’s ecosystem. Bees, which are closely related to wasps and ants, can be found on every continent except Antarctica. There are 20,000 documented species of bees, ranging from the tiny dwarf bee measuring 5/64th of an inch to the Megachile Pluto measuring 1.5 inches. The Western Honey Bee is perhaps the most well-known bee, and it is responsible for a significant portion of global pollination. They are also the most common species of bee used in beekeeping. The life of bees is much tough than that of humans. A bee’s diet consists of pollen and nectar from flowering plants, and they pollinate numerous plants. Scientists believe that bee pollination accounts for up to one-third of our food supply. Depending on the types of bees, they may pollinate one or more types of plants. Bees can easily pick up and carry pollen on their body and legs because they are electrostatically charged. They then move on to other flowers, groom themselves, and deposit pollen in the newly pollinated flower, pollinating it.
Although not all bees sting, the ones that are frequently observed do. Unless they are being attacked or defending the hive, most honeybees will avoid contact. Attack pheromones released by other bees, as well as alarm pheromones released by a bee that has stung an attacker, will elicit a response. The barbed stinger of the bee delivers a dose of apitoxin, or bee venom containing melittin, a type of histamine. A bee sting is painful right away, and it may be accompanied by swelling, irritation, and itching. The unique flight style and incredibly fast wings of bees make them a natural wonder. Bees flap their wings 230 times per second, faster than most other insects.
Body of bees
Honey bees are insects with five characteristics shared by all insects. They have a hard outer shell known as an exoskeleton. They have three major body parts: the head, the thorax, and the abdomen. They have a pair of antennae attached to the top of their heads. For walking, they have three pairs of legs. They have a pair of wings on each side of their body.
Body of bees, like all insects, is divided into three parts: a head with two antennae, a thorax with six legs, and an abdomen, overall. Every bee has branched hairs on their bodies and two pairs of wings. Stingers are only found in female bees. Many bee species are black and yellow, but many are not—they come in a variety of colors, including green, blue, red, and black. Some are striped, and some have a metallic sheen to them. They range in size from large carpenter and bumble bees to the tiny Perdita minima bee, which is only two millimeters long.
There are over 20,000 bee species worldwide, including the honey bee, which originated in Eurasia and has been imported as a domesticated species all over the world. Except for Antarctica, every continent is home to a variety of wild bee species. Bees, unlike the carnivorous wasps from which they evolved, only consume sugary nectar and protein-rich pollen from flowering plants.
How bees make honey?
Bees make honey, their food, by visiting flowers. They collect nectar, a sugary juice, from the blossom by sucking it out with their tongues. They keep it in their honey stomach, which is distinct from their food stomach. When they have finished their load, they return to the hive. They then pass it on through their mouths to other worker bees, who chew it for about 30 minutes. It is passed from bee to bee until it eventually transforms into honey. The bees then store it in honeycomb cells, which are like tiny wax jars. Because the honey is still a little wet, they fan it with their wings to dry it out and make it stickier. When it’s finished, the cell is sealed with a wax lid to keep it clean.
That is how bees produce honey. They don’t make a lot of it, however. It takes at least the entire life of eight bees to produce a single teaspoonful. Fortunately for us, they usually produce more than they require, so we can have some as well.
Life of bees
Typically the life of male bees is very short, they never collect pollen, and have no other responsibilities besides providing for the young. However, the life of Female bees is very tough, they do all of the nest-building and provisioning, and they usually have special anatomical structures that help them carry pollen. Most bees are polylectic, which means they collect pollen from a wide range of flowers. Some bees, however, collect pollen only from flowers of specific families, while others collect pollen only from flowers of specific colors. Oligolectic bees collect pollen from only a few closely related types of flowers. Bee mouth parts, like pollen-collecting and pollen-carrying devices, appear to be adapted to various flowers.
The majority of Apoidea are solitary or nonsocial by nature and do not live in colonies. In these species, each female builds and supplies her own nest. There are no castes among these bees. Some solitary bees build chimneys or turrets at the entrance to their nests, while others nest in wood or the pith of twigs or canes. As adults, most solitary bees have a short lifespan. Some species may spend only a few weeks of the year in flight, having spent the rest of the year in their cells as eggs, larvae, pupae, and young adults.
When the cells are sealed, solitary bees provide all of the food the larvae require to complete development. Social bees, such as bumblebees and honeybees, feed their young in stages. While foraging, bees perform the vital act of pollination. When a bee enters a flower to feed on nectar and collect pollen, some pollen adheres to the body of bees. When the bee flies away, it deposits some of the pollen on the next flower it visits, resulting in fertilization and allowing the plant to reproduce and produce the fruits and seeds that so many other wildlife species rely on for food. In fact, bees pollinate a whopping 80% of all flowering plants, including roughly 75% of all fruits, nuts, and vegetables grown in the United States.
Although all female bees have the ability to sting, but when bees sting, it means they are threatened. Honey bees are more aggressive and likely to sting when disturbed than solitary native bees because they have hives full of honey and larvae that need to be protected. The life of bees begin as eggs, which hatch into larvae that feed and pupate before emerging as adults to feed on and gather nectar and pollen from flowers. Most bees are solitary nesters, as opposed to the hive-forming domesticated honey bee or wild bumble bee species. They don’t build hives, make honey, or live in communities. Instead, they lay their eggs in a series of tiny chambers in ground tunnels, hollow plant stems, and decaying wood. During the whole life of bees, female solitary bees provide their eggs with a ball of nectar and pollen and leave them to grow and pupate on their own, unlike hive-forming bee species, which collectively care for their young. Some species, however, do not build nests at all. These “cuckoo bees” lay their eggs in the nests of other species.
Queen bumble bees can live for a year, while the life of workers bees is only for a month. The life of solitary bees live is for about a year, spending the majority of that time developing in their nesting chamber, where they hatch, pupate, and frequently overwinter. Their adult lives, in which they are active, last between three and eight weeks. The life of female bees is a little longer because they need to build a nest and lay eggs. Domesticated honey bees, as well as many native bee species, are in decline. In fact, some once-common species, such as the rusty patched bumblebee, are now listed as endangered in the United States.
Facts about bees
- The body of bees consist of 5 eyes, 2 pair of wings and 6 legs.
- Male bees are called drones and female bees are known as worker bees.
- The highest number of eggs laid by the queen is 2000 per day.
- A bee can die if it loses its sting.
- The average number of bees in a hive is about 50,000 bees.
- The average life of bees is nine months. But in summer, very rarely, they can last more than six weeks.
- Bees can recognize human faces.
- When life of bees end, i.e. when bees die, they frequently cling to flowers and appear quite lethargic. When they die, the flowers fall off, and you may find a number of these in your garden, particularly near the most bee-friendly plants.