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Bee swarm in tree
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More About Bees ...
Bees are flying insects, closely related to wasps and ants. They are adapted for feeding on nectar, and play an important role in pollinating flowering plants, and are called pollinators. Bees have a long tongue that they use in order to obtain the nectar from flowers. Bees have antennae made up of thirteen segments in males and twelve in females. They have two pairs of wings the back pair being the smaller of the two. Their legs are modified so that they can gather pollen and the apex of their abdomens are modified into a stinger. There are over 16,000 described species, and possibly around 30,000 species in total. Bees may be solitary, or may live in various sorts of communities.
The most advanced of these are eusocial colonies, found among the honeybees and stingless bees.
Sociality is believed to have evolved separately in different groups of bees.

Eusocial bees
Eusocial bees live in large hives, each of which has a single queen, together with workers and drones.

The life cycle of bumblebees begins in the spring when the queen bee rises from hibernation. At this time the queen bee is the one who does all the work because there are no worker bees to do the work yet. She searches for a place to build her nest and she builds the honeypots. She also does the foraging to collect nectar and pollen. Bumblebee colonies die off in the autumn, after raising a last generation of queens, which suvive individually in found hiding spots. Interestingly bumblebee queens sometimes seek winter safety in honeybee hives, where they are sometimes found dead in the spring by beekeepers, presumably stung to death by the honeybees. It is not known whether any succeed in winter survival in such an environment.

With honeybees, which survive winter as a colony, the queen begins egg laying in winter, to prepare for spring. This is probably triggered by day length. She is the only fertile female, and deposits all the eggs from which the other bees are produced. Except for her one mating flight or to establish a new colony, the queen rarely leaves the hive after the larvae have become full grown bees. The queen deposits each egg in a cell prepared by the worker bees. The egg hatches into a small larva which is fed by nurse bees (worker bees who maintain the interior of the colony). After about a week (depending on species), the larva is sealed up in its cell by the nurse bees. After another week (again, depending on species), it will emerge an adult bee.

Both workers and queens are fed royal jelly during the first three days of the larval stage. Then workers are switched to a diet of pollen and nectar or diluted honey, while those intended for queens will continue to receive royal jelly. This causes the larva to develop to the pupa stage more quickly, while being also larger and fully developed sexually. Queen breeders consider good nutrition during the larval stage to be of critical importance to the quality of the queens raised, good genetics and sufficient number of matings also being factors. During the larval and pupal stages, various parasites can attack the pupa/larva and destroy or mutate it.

Queens are not raised in typical horizontal brood cells of the honeycomb. They are specially constructed to be much larger, and have a vertical orientation. As the queen finishes her larval feeding, and pupates, she moves into a head downward position, from which she will later chew her way out of the cell. At pupation the workers cap or seal the cell. Just prior to emerging from their cells, young queens can often be heard "piping." This is considered likely to be a challenge to other queens for battle.

Worker bees are infertile females. Worker bees secrete the wax used to build the hive, clean and maintain the hive, raise the young, guard the hive and forage for nectar and pollen. In honeybees, the worker bees have a modified ovipositor called a stinger with which they can sting to defend the hive, but the bee will die soon after.

Drone bees are the male bees of the colony. Drone honeybees do not forage for nectar or pollen. The primary purpose of a drone bee is to fertilize a new queen. Drones mate with the queen in flight. They die immediately after mating.

In some species, drones are suspected of playing a contributing role in the temperature regulation of the hive. Drone bees have no stinger, since a stinger is actually a modified ovipositor.

Queens live for an average of three years, while workers have an average life of only three months.

Honey Bees use pheromones, or chemical communication, for almost all behaviors of life. Such uses include, but are not limited to: mating, alarm, defense, orientation, kin and colony recognition, food production, and integration of colony activities. Pheromones are, thus, essential to Honey Bees for their survival. Some Honey Bee pheromones include:

Nasnov pheromones.
These are used for orientation and include Geraniol, Nerolic acid, and Geranic acid. Bees use these to find the entrance to their colony or hive, and they release them on flowers so other bees know which flowers have nectar.
Footprint pheromones.
These are left by bee feet when they walk and are useful in enhancing Nasnov peromones in searching for nectar.
Alarm pheromones.
These can be released voluntarily by a bee when it senses danger or when a bee stings another animal. This pheromone attracts other bees to the location and causes the other bees to behave defensively, i.e. sting or charge. This is why you usually are stung multiply times if a bee hive is near.
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Apoidea
Source: Wikipedia Read more about Bees
0.017MB  AU  Hear Sound
Pelotes Island Nature Preserve
Honey Bee
0.051MB  WAV  Hear Sound
University of Aberdeen Zoology Museum
Bumble Bee
0.051MB  WAV  Hear Sound
Rouge River Valley
Bumble Bee Audio Clip
Streaming  RAM  Hear Sound
ABC Archives and Library Services
Australian native bee flying around opening to nest
0.050MB  WAV  Hear Sound
Buzz of a Honey Bee
0.051MB  WAV  Hear Sound
Buzz of a Bumblebee
0.038MB  WAV  Hear Sound
0.048MB  WAV  Hear Sound
Bumble Bee
Streaming  RAM  Hear Sound
The British Library
Cumbria, England
MP3  Hear Sound
National Geographic
Honeybee sound clip
Photos on Canvas

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