Naturalist’s Corner – Honey Bees!

Naturalist’s Corner – Honey Bees!

Posted April 10, 2020

Written by Kyla Isakson

Honey bees become more active as the weather warms and more flowers bloom. During the peak of summer, one honey bee hive can consist of 60,000 to 80,000 bees. The hive consists of three types of bees: the queen, the workers, and the drones. The queen bee is the only fertile female in the hive; she is responsible for laying eggs, and she can lay up to 2,500 eggs during the summer. Worker bees are infertile females that collect pollen and nectar, prepare and feed the hive, maintain the temperature of the hive by beating their wings, and keep the hive free of debris and intruders. Drones are male bees that mate with the queen, but only about 1,000 drones get this opportunity.

More than 20,000 species of bees have been identified around the world. Bees are herbivorous with the exception of when they are under high nutritional stress; bees will kill larvae in the hive to maintain protein intake. To communicate the location and abundance of resources, honey bees perform the “waggle dance.” Honey bees are able to produce two to three times the amount of honey they need for the hive to survive, which allows humans to collect it for a variety of uses. To attract pollinators and aid in the success of the honey bee hive, plant flowers in your yard that are high in pollen and nectar, such as lavender. Seeing bees in your yard might be scary, but know that they are looking for something to eat and are attracted to the beautiful flowers in your garden. Bees play an important role in the ecosystem, so they need to be respected and protected.

To learn more about the honey bee waggle dance, check out this video from Georgia Tech!

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