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Bees in The Hive

The Queen Bee, The Drones, And The Workers: Important Facts In Their Natural History.

Bees can flourish only when part of a large colony. In a solitary state, a single bee is almost as helpless as a newborn child; it cannot endure even the ordinary chill of a cool summer night.

A strong colony of bees will have three different kinds of bees.

  1. A single bee of a peculiar shape is commonly called the Queen Bee.

  2. Some hundreds, more or less, of larger bees called Drones.

  3. Many thousands of smaller bees are called Workers and are similar to those seen on the blossoms.

Many cells will be filled with honey, while vast numbers will contain eggs, immature workers, and drones. A few cells of unusual size are devoted to the rearing of young queens and are found in perfect condition only during the swarming season. The Queen Bee is the only perfect female in the hive, and all the eggs are laid by her. The Drones are the males, and the Workers are females, whose ovaries or "egg bags" are incapable of breeding but retain the instinct of females only so far as to give the most devoted attention to feeding and rearing the brood.

The Queen Bee, or as she may more appropriately be called, the mother bee, is the common mother of the whole colony. She reigns, therefore, most unquestionably, by a divine right, as every mother is, or ought to be, a queen in her own family. Her shape is entirely different from that of the other bees. While she is not nearly so bulky as a drone, her body is longer and of a more tapering form than a worker, so she has somewhat of a wasp-like appearance. Her wings are much shorter, in proportion, than the drone or worker; the under part of her body is golden, and the upper part is darker than the other bees. Her motions are usually slow and matronly, although she can, when she pleases, move with astonishing quickness.

Bee In Flight
Bees In Flight

No colony can long exist without the presence of this all-important insect. The queen is necessary for a colony; without a queen, the colony will undoubtedly perish. She is treated by the bees, as every mother ought to be, by her children, with the most unbounded respect and affection. A circle of her loving offspring constantly surrounds her. They are supportive, in various ways, of their dutiful regard, offering her honey from time to time and always, most politely, getting out of her way, to give her a clear path when she wishes to move over the combs. On the other hand, the colony is thrown into the most intense agitation if she perishes. The laborers of the hive will run wildly over the combs, and frequently, the whole of them rush forth and abandon the hive. Beekeepers and honey consumers should not underestimate the fertility of the queen bee. she is truly astonishing. During the height of the breeding season, she will often, under favorable circumstances, lay from two to three thousand eggs a day! In my observing hives, I have seen her lay at the rate of six eggs a minute! The queen bee deposits her eggs in their appropriate cells, one at a time.

Cheers, Hophead Jon

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