Bee Colonies are made up of three castle of bee
1 2 3
From left to right
- 1. Worker is a female ranging 30,000 50,000 in a large colony.
- 2. Drone is a male ranging from thousands in strong hive in spring and in winter very few.
- 3. Queen Bee, normally the only breeding female in the colony.
The Queen is the only sexually mature female in the hive and all of the female worker bees and male drones are her offspring. The Queen may live up to three years or more and may be capable of laying half million eggs or more in her life time. At the peak of the breeding season, late spring to summer, a good queen may be capable of laying 3,000 to 1500 eggs in one day.
Mating of Queen
The queen emerges from her cell after 15 days of development and she remains in the hive for 3-7 days before venturing out on a mating flight. A mating flight is known as ‘nuptial flight’. Her first orientation flight may only last a few seconds, just enough to mark the position of the hive. Mating flights may last up 5 minutes to 30 minutes. She may mate number of male drones on each flight over seraval mating. The queen stores enough sperm from the drones to fertilize hundreds of thousands of eggs.
Without a properly performing queen, the hive is doomed.
The strongest male drones will mate with the queen. So ,that they can pass on their genes.
Female worker bee
Almost all the bees in a hive are female worker bees at the height of the summer. When activity in the hive is frantic and goes on non-stop, the life of a worker bee may be as short as 6 weeks. In autumn they may live for 16 weeks.
Drones are the largest bees in the hive (except for the queen). Are twice the size of the work bee. They do not work or forage for pollen or nectar and have no other function than to mate with the queens and fertilize them on their mating flights. A bee colony generally starts to raise drones a few weeks before building queen cells so they can supersede a failing queen or prepare for swarming. When queen-raising in the colder climates drives the drones out of the hive to die biting their legs and wings.
Structure of a bee colony
A domesticated bee colony is normally housed in a rectangular hive body, with which eight to ten parallel frames house the vertical plates of honeycomb that contain the eggs, larvae, pupae and food for the colony.
Factors that trigger a swarming
Generally accepted that a colony, of bees. Does not swarm until they have completed, all of their brood combs. They fill all available space with eggs, larvae, and brood. This generally occurs in late spring at a time when the other areas of the hive are rapidly filling with honey stores. One key trigger of the swarming instinct is when the queen has no more room to lay eggs and hive population is becoming very congested. Under these conditions, a prime swarm may issue with the queen, resulting in a halving of the population within the hive, leaving the old colony with a large number of hatching bees.
The queen who leaves finds herself in new hive with no eggs and no larvae but lots of energetic young bees who create a new set of brood combs from scratch in a short time.
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