Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Beekeeping: The Honey Bee

Notes on the Honey Bee, from my Beekeeping Workshop.

Physical Characteristics
o Bees have an exoskeleton covered with with a thick coat of hair. The hairs attract and catch pollen as the bee flies from flower to flower.
o Bees have two antennae which they use to smell, hear, feel, and communicate.
o The mouth has two mandibles which move side to side. The tongue and mouth form a long tube, or proboscis.
o A bee has four wings, two on each side. Each pair hooks together to function as one unit.
o In flight a bee beats its wings 160-200, this produces the distinctive buzzing sound which is in the key of C sharp!
o Bees have two sets of eyes. The compound eyes are plainly visible on each side of the head. There are also three single eyes, or ocelli, on top of the head in a triangular pattern.
o Honey bees have several glands. One on the head which produces royal jelly. One on the abdomen that produces wax. And of course, the venom sac that produces the notorious sting.
o The bees stinger is a chitin tube with a barbed tip.

Types of Bees
o Workers – infertile females
o Drones – males
o Queens – fertile females
o Male bees do not have stingers.
o Only the workers gather honey, pollen, and propolis and build the combs.

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