Honey Bees belong to the Apidae family and mainly they are flying insects along with that they show the highest level of organization. They are often involved in forming large colonies with very complex hierarchies i.e. queens, reproductive males, workers, etc. The native place of Honey Bees is mainly Eurasia and is also found in other continents by humans. It is believed that all breeds of Honey Bee produce honey and among them, the maximum amount of honey is produced by Apis mellifera. The mode of communication in Honey Bees is by dancing. They show their movement deliberately across its honeycomb by which to transport nectar and pollen to other worker bees. We all think that all Honey Bees sting but the truth is that only the female sting as the stinger is technically the ovipositor – or the egg-laying organ.
Honeybee which has the common genus name Apis is a social insect. It is called a social insect as it lives as colonies of about 50,000 or even more bees. They feed on vegetables and depend on the pollen and nectar provided by the flowers. The relationship between flowers and the Honey Bee is of mutualism as both of them are benefiting from each other. The honeybees are the largest pollinators of this world. The larvae of the honeybees do not have legs and hence, they depend on the nursing workers who feed them until the time of pupation. The adults consume honey and the young ones are given pure pollen or pollen mixed with honey and water which gives a paste called the bee-bread. The honeybees best thrive in gardens and forests but they can be noticed in other places as well.
They live in a colony that is highly organized and every member has a unique duty to fulfill. The colony is composed of the queen bee, workers, and drones. There is an equal division of labor in the colony. In India, there are 3 species of honeybees namely Apis Florea, Apis dorsata, and Apis indica. The other species are also found namely Apis Mellifera or the European bee in Europe. Similarly, Apis adamsoni or African bees can be found in North Africa. Apis dorsata which is also known as Rock bee is found in India and is the largest honeybee measuring about 20 mm. They prepare large honeycombs which measure about 1-meter x 1.4 meters and build them on caves, walls, and parts of some buildings. These insects are migratory in nature and swarm around the hills during the month of June and July and then return during the winter season to the plains.
The scientific name of the Honey Bee is Apidae corbiculata.
Western/ European Honey Bee – Apis mellifera
Asiatic/ Asian Honey Bee – Apis cerana
Red dwarf Honey Bee – Apis florea
Black dwarf Honey Bee – Apis andreniformis
Some of the common features of the Honey Bee are discussed below:
Their body is in segmented form and divided into stinger, legs, antenna, three segments of the thorax, and six visible segments of the abdomen.
Their head consists of eyes, antennae, and feeding structures.
The scientific culture of the Honey Bee is known as apiculture. As we all know, bees have their own ecological and economical importance. Honey is used as a source of food, medicine, cosmetics, source of antioxidants, and many more. Because of these reasons, the culturing of honey is done. So in these practices, bees are kept under proper care and management, and in return, honey gives honey and wax. This practice of breeding bees is done under proper apiaries where beehives can be placed for their proper growth and development.
Honey Bees which lay eggs is known as:
Culturing of the Honey Bee is known as:
Area, where honey hives are found, is known as:
To which genus do Honey Bees belong?
1. What is the social organization of Honey Bees?
There is a true social organization or eusociality in the honeybees. This has been found in the studies where Honey Bees live in the colonies and every colony is composed of a queen who lays eggs, many drones which are fertile males, and more than thousands of worker bees which are infertile females that collect nectar for the queen. The queen and workers are female and diploid in nature whereas the drones are haploid and are males. One of the mates with the queen. A colony can be said to be healthy and strong when there are a maximum number of workers present in the colony.
2. What is the queen’s function in the colony?
The queen is the only one who can lay eggs and they do it from the ovipositor. The queen also secretes a chemical substance that has hormonal properties from her mandibular glands which inhibits ovary growth in the female worker bees. This is also named queen substance or pheromone. This, in turn, controls the activities of the bee in the hive. The queen with this can attract the worker bees towards her and make them build wax cells for workers and drones but prevents them from building the queen cells. A scientist named Johann Dzierzan in 1980 found that the queen is the center of the beehive and the mother of the young bees.
3. What do workers do in the Honey Bee colony?
The workers mainly work for the maintenance of the hives and look after the other members of the hive. They mainly construct the hives, clean the hives’ cells, collect nectar and pollen, add and store water in the hive cells. They are infertile females. The water they collect and keep is essential for royal jelly preparation. It is mainly made from pollen and dissolving crystalline honey and is only fed to the Queen bee.
4. What is the function of drones?
The drones are male members of the beehive and are haploid. The drones take 24 days to develop completely from an egg to an adult. They do not have any pollen or nectar collecting organs like that of worker bees. Thus, drones depend on the worker bees for getting food. The drones eat honey during summers and springs and during the winters they are removed from the hive by the worker bees. The main function of the drones is to fertilize the queen during their copulation dance. The drones also help maintain the warmth of the hive so that it helps in the hatching of the eggs.
5. How do Honey Bees copulate?
When the queen emerges from the chamber then she takes a flight with many drones. The copulation happens in the air when the queen and drone flies and the queen receives the sperm cells from the drone. After this, the reproductive parts of the drone are driven out which leads to its death. It was initially believed that the queen copulates only once in her entire life but recent studies have shown that the queen mates more than once during her life. The flight that is taken for copulation between the queens and drones is named a nuptial flight.
6. Write the Classification of the Honey Bee?
Classification of the Honey Bee is discussed below:
7. Explain a few Importances of Apiculture?
Some of the importance of apiculture are discussed below:
One of the major products of honeybees is wax and honey as it has its own commercial importance.
They help in the pollination process and indirectly increase the yields of plants.
It is also used in various medicinal uses like in destroying the HIV virus.