Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Buzz on Bees Part I

"Like all of us in this storm between birth and death, I can wreak no great changes on the world, only small changes for the better, I hope, in the lives of those I love." Dean Koontz
Poppy Birth
Showy Daffodil
Pretty Pansy
Sunny Daffodils
I have really bee-n looking forward to this subject! We have a hive of very active bees in our front wall. Just a hint- learn from my experience. When your husband wakes you up at 4 a.m. and whispers softly to you, "Honey, where is the fire extinguisher?" WAKE UP. Your husband could have accidentally set the fence on fire trying to smoke out bees!

Of course, that didn't work and we read with trepidation about 'killer bees' and how they have killed two dogs in our town. When we still had horses I wanted to get into beekeeping and have a hive, but Jim was worried about them attacking the horses in their stalls, where they couldn't get away.But we know how important bees are to our fruit and flowers, and also how bees are disappearing from the world so we are looking forward to learning about them.It is estimated that one third of the human food supply depends on insect pollination, most of which is accomplished by bees, especially the domesticated European Honey Bee. It's a huge subject so we may spend a few days on it.

  • there are about 4,000 bees to one pound
  • the average flight speed of a bee is 12.5 mph
  •   A honey bee has five eyes
  •  there are over 20,000 known species of bees
  • the honey bee was brought to this country by early colonists
  • honeybees are never more gentle than when they are swarming
  • Bees must visit two million flowers to make one pound of honey
  • the average worker honeybee makes 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in their lifetime
  • the drone or male bee has a grandfather but no father

Yesterday we learned about bees role in pollination of the flower. Bees are adapted for feeding on nectar (as an energy source) and pollen (for protein and other nutrients). Most pollen is used for larvae.

Bees have a long complex tongue called a proboscis that enables them to get to the nectar from flowers. They have antennae (13 segments in males and 12 in females). Bees have two pairs of wings, the hind pair being the smaller of the two.

The smallest bee in the world is TRIGONA MINIMA at 5/64" long, and the largest is MEGACHILE PLUTO at 1.5". The best known species of bee is the EUROPEAN HONEY BEE, which as its name suggests, produces honey.

Most bees are fuzzy and carry an electrostatic charge, which helps the pollen stick. Female bees often stop foraging and groom themselves to pack the pollen into the scopa, which is on the legs in most bees, or on the abdomen on others, and modified into specialized pollen baskets on the legs of honey bees and their relatives.

Tomorrow-How does a bee grow?

What did the bee say to the flower?
Hello, honey!

What does a worker bee do when they forget where they are?
They 'wing' it

How does a queen bee get around her hive?
She's throne! 

What does a bee sit on?
Its bee-hind!

What does the drone call the queen bee?

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