Friday, September 5, 2008

Tree Bees

They tell me there are bees in that tree. They also tell me that the bees will make their way into that box. I'm going to take their word for it. For now, until they get settled, this is as close as I'm getting. :) Day one in Beeville is likely to be a bit boring, actually, since we just need to leave them alone for a bit. So for your amusement, here are some interesting facts* about bees:

  • Newly-emerged workers begin working almost immediately. As they age, workers do the following tasks in this sequence: clean cells, circulate air with their wings, feed larvae, practice flying, receive pollen and nectar from foragers, guard hive entrance and forage.
  • Honey bees are Old World insects that were introduced into North and South America by European settlers.
  • Bees are closely related to ants, and are found on every continent except Antarctica, in every habitat on the planet that contains insect-pollinated flowering plants.
  • Beekeeping is also known as apiculture.
  • It is estimated that one third of the human food supply depends on insect pollination, most of which is accomplished by bees.
  • A bee's wing flaps approximately 230 times per second, faster than a fruitfly (200 times per second) which is 80 times smaller.
  • Drones hatch from unfertilized eggs, females (Queens and worker bees) hatch from fertilized eggs. The queen actually can choose to fertilize the egg she is laying, usually depending on what cell she is laying in.
  • Although stinging is the primary defense against vertebrates, defense against other insects such as predatory wasps is usually performed by surrounding the intruder with a mass of defending worker bees, who vibrate their muscles so vigorously that it raises the temperature of the intruder to a lethal level. This is also used to kill a queen perceived as intruding or defective, an action known to beekeepers as balling the queen, named for the ball of bees formed.
Fascinating, huh?

* Bee facts were obtained from Wikipedia and The University of Georgia Honeybee Program website.


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