honey bee biology _2011_Pete by huangyuarong


									  Basic Beekeeping
       Sponsored by the
Colonial Beekeepers Association
Honey Bee Biology
    Honey Bees are Social

Under natural
conditions they
nest in cavities
and build
multiple combs.
The honey bee is a highly
  socialized insect.
   – Apis mellifera L.
• The scientific name for the
  honey bee. You will see the
  word honey bee spelled as two
  words and as a single word. But
  it is correct to spell it as two
  words like House fly, and
  bumble bee. Apis mellifera L. is
  the scientific name for the honey
  bee. The honey bee is an
  insect. Insects are classified as
• 3 body parts (head, thorax and
• one pair of antennae
• three pairs of legs
• compound eyes
                   Queen - female

Honey Bee

Workers - female   Drones - male
The inhabitants of the hive
                    The Queen

The queen is a mature
  female. She lays thousands
  of eggs during her life
  time. A queen has the
  longest live span in the
  colony living for years
  versus months. She is
  larger than the other bees in
  the hive and has a slim
  torpedo shape. She does
  have a stinger, but uses it to
  kill other queens. Under
  normal conditions a hive
  will have only one queen.
Queen Profile
                 • One queen
                 • Only actively
                   reproducing female
                 • Can produce 1,500
                   eggs per day or more
                   at the height of the
    M. Frazier     brood season
                 • Can live for 2-5 yrs
                 • Pheromone Factory
• She develops from a
  fertilized egg.

• She mates with many
  drones to produce
  fertilized eggs.

• She is the mother of all
  the bees in the hive.

• Her role in the hive is to
  produce eggs and to
  release pheromone
  signals within the hive.
Worker bees are sexually underdeveloped
They may number as many as 60,000 in a
    colony. The population depending on a
    number of factors such as: the egg laying
    ability of the queen, the space available in
    the hive (area where the bees live) and
    the incoming food supply.
They are called workers because that is what
    they do. They collect food and water for
    the colony, build wax comb, do the
    housework, maintain the interior
    temperatures of the hive and guard the
    hive against intruders [in other words:
    they can sting].
Female worker bees under certain conditions
    can lay eggs but because they are not
    mated, they produce eggs that only
    develop into drones.
A worker bee spends its first 20
   days in the hive performing
   various task – cleaning cells,
   feeding young larva, building
   wax comb, etc.

•   She defends the hive. She has a
    stinger, but can sting only once.
    She dies soon after stinging.

•   The worker bee also has pollen
    baskets on her rear legs to
    gather and collect pollen while
    she is foraging for nectar outside
    the hive.

•   Wax comes from 4 pairs of wax
    glands under the abdomen.
            Worker Profile

• Female but typically
  not able to
• A colony will have
  20,000 - 60,000
• Live for 4-6 weeks
  in summer, 4-5             M. Frazier

  months in winter
Division of Labor Among

   • Based on two things:
     – The age of the bee
     – The needs of the

   • It’s highly elastic
                  Nurse bees

– 1 - 12 days

– Self-grooming

– Cell cleaning

– Feeding brood
House Bees
                 – 10-20 days old
                 – Comb building
                 – Hive cleaning
                 – Accepting
                   nectar and
                   pollen from
                 – Undertakers
    M. Frazier
                 – Hive guarding
                 – Climate control
                Field Bees

– From about 20
  days until death
  (30-45 days)

– Collect
  •   Nectar
  •   Pollen
  •   Water
                             M. Frazier
  •   Plant resins
         Meet the Drone bee
Drones are the males in the colony.

Note the general shape of the drone.

Notice two things:

1) The head is large and the eyes
   predominate the head.

2) The rear-end of the drone is
   rounded --they have no stinger and
   can not sting. Some consider
   them worthless but they contribute
   to the continuation of one
   generation to the next generation.
•   The drone is the male bee in the

•   He develops from an
    unfertilized egg. Meaning he is
    passing on genetic material
    from his mother only.

•   He provides ½ of the genetic
    material in worker bees.

•   His life span depends on the
    health of the colony. During
    poor honey flows and honey
    shortages, drones may be
    driven from the hive. This
    happens at the onset of winter
    as well.

•   Drones can be created by laying
    worker honey bees.
     Biological Information
• All honey bees come from eggs.
• All honey bees develop into larva.
• All honey bees go thru something called
• The development times for all honey bees
  differ by caste.

Lets look at each of these.




                Dadant and Sons
          Beekeeping Math
 The development times for all honey bees differ by
                Cast and Gender

         Egg         Larva       Pupa         Total
Queen    3            5.5         7.5         16
Worker   3            6           12          21
Drone    3           6.5          14.5        24

      M. Frazier
 All honey bees come from eggs
• A queen honey bee
  can lay over 2000
  eggs in a single 24
  hour period.
• If your math is good,
  multiply this by 10,
  20, 30, and 40 days
  the general life span
  of worker bees.
• Eggs are deposited
  into cells.
    All honey bees develop into larva
• Larva in cells look
  somewhat like little worms.
  The body is composed of a
  head plus 13 ring-like
  divisions or segments.

• It grows to fill the cell very
  quickly. Between the day it
  emerges from the egg until
  it reaches the fifth day of
  development, it will grow
  six times it’s body weight
  during each 24 hour period
  of development.

• Healthy larva are white in
Then a Pupa..

                M. Frazier
The cells of honey bees differ by


                      Beekeeping Math
         The development times for all honey bees differ by
                        Cast and Gender

Caste       Hatch       Cap          Emerge

Queen       3½ days     8 days +-1   16 days +-1     Laying 28 days +-5

Worker      3½ days     9 days +-1   20 days +-1     Foraging 42 days +-7

Drone       3½ days    10 days +-1   24 days +-1 Flying to DCA 38 days +-5
Fertilized Eggs   Unfertilized Eggs
    Female              Male
Worker    Queen
        Fertilized vs. Unfertilized
            Worker cells vs. Drone Cells

                                   M. Frazier

     Worker vs. Queen
All fertilized eggs have the potential to
             become Queens

                           S. Camazine
Eggs and Larva
When is a new queen made?
  Swarming – Normal hive reproduction.
        Swarming should be avoided.

  Supersedure – Replace an old or failing

  Emergency – When something happens
  to the Queen???
In all cases these fertilized larvae
                             • Housed in
                               larger cells

                             • Fed large
                               amounts of
                               royal jelly
                M. Frazier
                               larval life
                         Queen Cells
Supercedure cells are queen cells found along the center of a given frame.

Swarm cells are found clinging to the bottom of the brood frame and are used to
         In Swarming

The old queen
participates in
the requeening

                  D. Sammataro
In An Emergency Situation

                       The old queen does
                       Not participate in
                       Re-queeing process

          M. Frazier
          NEW Virgin Queen
• Seeks out cells and
  kills developing
• If others queens have
  emerged, queens fight
  to the death
• After a few days she
  makes her mating
  flight, mating with 7-
  14 drones                  M. Frazier

• Returns and after a
  few days begins to lay
  What happens if the
returning queen doesn’t
        make it
Introduce a NEW Queen
    Get a new queen
   Make a new queen

        D. Sammataro
If not, what happens...

                   S. Camazine
A colony of drones

                M. Frazier
Any Questions ???

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