Honey Bees — these cute, fuzzy doers of good deeds — essentially carry our environmental future on their wings! The importance of these busy little insects cannot be underestimated. There are numerous reasons to love the benefits of honey bees!
Did you know that honey bees are the only insect that produce a food consumed by humans? These hardworking little creatures can make some amazing honey! Not only is honey delicious, but it also contains nutrients like antioxidants, amino acids, and a plethora of vitamins. It is an environmentally friendly sweetener!
In addition to its use as a healthy alternative to sugar in baked goods and cooking, honey has powerful anti-bacterial properties. Honey contains a by-product called propolis that is an anti-bacterial agent. It kills bacteria and prevents infection in skin wounds. Honey has been shown to relieve allergies thanks to trace amounts of pollen. Civilizations have been consuming honey and using it for medicinal purposes for centuries.
FUN FACT! Many people notice that dictionaries list “honeybee” as one word. However, entomologists use the two-word naming convention “honey bee”. Both are correct!
Honey bees are social insects that live in hives. They communicate through a series of dance moves — the “waggle”, the “shake” and the “tremble”. These bees like to shake it up! One bee dances, while other bees watch to learn the directions to a specific flower patch. Plus the dancing bee smells like the flower patch she came from. She also gives the watching bees a taste of the nectar she gathered.
A bee performs the “waggle” when she wants to inform other bees of a nectar source she has found. The “shake” is performed when nectar sources are so rich that more foragers are needed. Then there is the “tremble” dance when foragers have brought so much nectar back to the hive that more bees are needed to process the nectar into honey. A hive of bees will fly over 55,000 miles to make one pound of honey!
The members of the hive are divided into three types — queen, workers, and drones. Each bee has a specific job.
The queen is the largest bee in the hive. However, she can be hard to spot in the middle of thousands of bees! Beekeepers will mark the thorax, or back of the queen with a tiny dot of special bee paint so that she can be easily found. The beekeeping industry will use a special color code to indicate the year the queen was introduced.
The queen's job is to lay the eggs that will spawn the hive’s next generation of bees. A queen bee can lay more than her own weight in eggs each day, which is one every 20 seconds! The worker bees will tend the queen's every need. They will clean her, feed her, and protect her and the hive.
However, when the workers sense that their queen is starting to slow down her egg production, they will begin to feed certain young larvae a special food called royal jelly. Royal jelly is richer than the food given to worker larvae,
and is necessary for these larvae to develop into a fertile queen bee.
Sadly, the first newborn queen that hatches will kill the old queen bee and all the other hatching queen bees. It's not easy being queen.
The lovely lady to your right is a perfect example of a beautiful worker bee.
Worker bees are the smallest of the honey bees. These bees are slender, non-fertile females and they are the busiest bees in the hive! Worker bees forage for food such as pollen and nectar from flowers. They then bring the food back to the hive to process into honey and beeswax.
Workers not only build the hive, but they also keep it clean. Worker bees will control the temperature in the hive by beating their wings to circulate the air. These amazing little ladies will also feed, clean and protect the queen, eggs and larvae. Worker bees also guard the entrance of the hive and create the first line of defense against predators.
And if you think all worker bees are alike, think again! Younger worker bees are in charge of nursing and feeding the bee
larvae. They also process the nectar, feed and tend to the
queen, and in their spare time they actually make and cap the honey in the honeycomb.
Older worker bees are the bees you see out and about. These ladies leave the hive to collect the pollen and nectar from various plants and flowers. This is a dangerous and tiring job, but these older bees will work from the time the sun is up until sunset.
And then there are the drones.
Drones are the male bees in the hive. Only female bees have a stinger, so if you come across a drone, it won’t be able to sting you. The drone's one and only job is to mate with the queen. They don't build the hive, process honey, or gather food. The drones can't even help protect the hive.
The life of a drone is short but sweet. Their lifespan is only around three months. As larvae, drone bees are fed by the younger nurse bees, but as they grow older, they help themselves to honey directly from the food stores. Drones literally do nothing but eat honey and mate with the queen.
Drones stay in the hive and help the queen make babies during the spring and summer. But come winter, when the hive goes into survival mode and food is too precious to waste, the worker bees will force the drones out! Sadly, these drones will die of starvation. Often you will find dead drones on the ground under a hive.
Have you ever wondered why bees use hexagons instead of circles to store their honey? It seems that bees have a fundamental understanding of engineering! They know that a hexagon is a stable and efficient shape for their hives. Circles would leave gaps between the honeycomb. Squares and triangles fit together, but aren’t the best mix of storage space and strength. Hexagons, on the other hand, use the least amount of material to hold the most weight! It seems as though honey bees are just born with an honorary engineering degree!
Bees have a brain the size of a sesame seed, so it’s surprising how intelligent they are. In one experiment at the Queen Mary University of London, bees were shown that moving a ball into a particular spot gave them a reward of sugar water. The bees learned the connection between moving the ball into place and earning a reward. This led to bees repeating the behavior. Not only did the bees learn, but when new bees saw the trained bees moving the balls and earning rewards, they started doing the same thing. The bees were teaching and learning from each other!
Honey bees are friendly insects which only respond defensively when there are threats to themselves and the hives. They are easy-going. While some species of bees are more aggressive than others, most are actually quite docile. When foraging, bees will pay you little interest. If they do, they’ll move on once they’ve figured out you are not a flower. Bees often get a bad rap as they look similar to their more aggressive relatives, wasps and honest. But bees, especially the honey bee variety, are quite friendly.
If you notice a small, agitated colony of bees hanging around your home in Germantown TN, keep your distance and call Apex Wildlife Control. Our professional technicians will come out and assess the situation. Certain factors such as the location of the hive, size of the hive, and the aggressiveness of the bees will be documented, and the technician will give your an estimate for removing the hive.
You may only have some friendly little honey bees that simply need to be relocated, but it’s not something you should ever gamble with. Especially when it comes to the safety of yourself, your family and your pets.
If You Need Honey Bee Removal In Germantown TN,
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