Presentation on theme: "The queen is the largest bee. She is female but functionally bisexual. She lives."— Presentation transcript:
The queen is the largest bee. She is female but functionally bisexual. She lives about 3 years depending on the number of sperm she collected. There is generally only 1 queen in the hive. The drone is a medium-sized bee. He is male. There are no drones in winter but a few hundred may be in the hive in summer. They live just the three months of summer at most. The workers are small, generally sterile female bees. A small hive may have 20,000 workers! They live at most six months.
Morphology of a honeybee head thorax abdomen wings 3 pairs of segmented legs on thorax antennae
This diagram shows the queen laying a zygote (labeled egg…drat!) which hatches into a larva. The larva is fed honey and bee bread (pollen mixture with worker saliva). The larva grows and is sealed into its cell. The larva rests in the form of a pupa. The pupa eats through the wax cap and emerges as an adult.
The queen bee is larger. Her wings are disproportionately short and her abdomen disproportionately large. Although it may appear that the worker bees around her are waiting upon her, the fact is that they are feeding her so she stays on the brood comb laying eggs. They herd her around like a cow keeping her working 365/24/7. What is not visible here is that the queen makes a pheromone chemical (body odor) that keeps these workers disinterested in laying their own eggs and keeping them on worker duties.
The old queen is running out of sperm and therefore is not producing enough pheromone. The workers put one of her worker zygotes into a special queen cell, feed it richer food, and the emerging daughter will be a queen. Upon hatching, she assassinates any developing sisters, then hunts down Mom!
When the daughter queen meets up with mother queen, the battle usually ends in Moms death. But if Mom is still young enough to put up a good fight, the battle ends in a draw. In that case, Mom usually leaves home with all of her worker bees. The swarm flies, resting in some places as shown here, but ultimately finding a new home in a cavity. The daughter queen gets the old hive cavity and its emerging workers.
The drone honeybee is larger, blockier and male. It is the best flyer, has the best vision, and scent detection. Its only function is to mate with the queen. Drones catch up with the queen, mount her, using the hind legs remove any previous drones endophallus, inserts his own, ejaculates, and pushes away. Upon mating, the drones endophallus and attached internal organs are ripped out of his abdomen. He is dead before he reaches the ground Workers feed and tolerate drones during the summer months, but any who do not mate before fall are starved to death at the hive entrance.
These workers are ventilating the hive. They are building the hexagonal walls of the honeycomb cells. As worker-gatherers arrive from the field they receive the nectar to evaporate into honey. In the darker brood comb areas, the workers clean out the cells, feed larvae, cap pupae, and continue the ventilation functions. Also in this area a group of workers herd the queen to the empty brood cells, feed the queen, and someday may steal a zygote to surreptitiously make a new queen!
Here a worker is in action gathering nectar, licking it from the flowers with its glossa (tongue). She is also gathering pollen by preening her bristles with combs on her legs and packing it in the hairs on her hind legs Gathering workers also collect water and plant resins (propolis).
This worker is visiting a dayflower. The two blue petals and the yellow stamens make a nice attraction. At the moment of this photograph, the stigmas are contacting the body of the honeybee, picking up any pollen the bee had stuck to her hairy body from a previously visited flower. As the worker moves in closer to lick out the nectar, she will get the pollen from those stamens on her body. This worker has been out collecting and is returning with a full crop of nectar and the bristles of her legs are packed with yellow pollen.
Anatomy of a honeybee:
The stingers venom sac contracts and pulsates, injecting its venom into the victim. Best to brush this away rather than squash it and give yourself a large dose! When a bee stings, the stinger is pulled out from her body, digs its way in with muscular contraction, and the venom sac injects the poisons into the victim. Of course the honeybee hemorrhages to death upon stinging the victim!
Ranunculus acris has rather plain yellow flowers to us. The buttercup demonstrates its strong bullseye target in the UV
Hepatica nobilis is a blue flower with white stamens and carpels…to a bee these absorb UV and thus the targets translates to yellow instead!
Potentilla atrosanguinea is a red flower which also has strong UV targets on each petal.
Oenothera biennis has beautiful UV nectar guides
Angelica sylvestris nectaries absorb UV strongly providing the bulls eye target very specifically! The nectary actually fluoresces when illuminated with UV light