After emerging from their capped cell they get some pollen to eat then get to work cleaning their room, I mean cell. They also work to keep the brood warm. You can see lots of capped brood almost ready to emerge.
These young bees are called Nurse Bees, because they take care of feeding the larva. Days 3-5 they feed the older larva and days 6-11 they feed the youngest larva.
On day 10 bees develop wax producing glands on their abdomen. Researchers still don't know exactly how it works, but I think it is a little like ear wax. At this age the bees are eating lots of honey to convert to wax. For every 6 pounds of honey they eat (as a group), they produce 1 pound of wax. They use this wax to build the comb. The comb wax is cream colored when it is new or freshly built. During days 10-16, bees are best at producing wax as they get older they produce less wax. So during days 12-17 they are making wax and building comb. They also carry food to store in the cells and perform undertaker duties. An undertaker is someone who takes care of the dead. As a bee they take any dead bees out of the hive.
During this time, a bees stinger is at maximum potency. That means it has some really strong venom. Since they have the strongest stingers they work as guard bees. A guard bee inspects every bee that enters the hive. They can smell the bee and tell if they are from this hive or another. If a bee from another hive comes to the door with pollen or nectar the guards won't stop them. It's like they are bringing gifts. If a honey bee from another hive comes with nothing the guards won't let them enter. If a wasp, bumble bee, or yellow jacket tries to enter the guard bees will not let them in either. They will release a pheromone or a smell to warn the others. It works a lot like a fire alarm warning people there may be a fire. Other bees will come out and attack. If they are trying to rob the hive, by stealing their honey, the bees will attack.
Days 22-death (40-45)
This is when the worker bee begins to forage. They start searching and collecting water, pollen, and nectar. The single bee will travel to many different flowers of the same kind collecting pollen and nectar. They pollinate these flowers when pollen sticks to the hairs on their body and then rubs off onto another flower.
Today I got to check out my bees and show them to my niece and nephews. My niece was a little scared ad first, but she was courageous and brave and got real close to see the bees working in the hive. She felt safe, wearing the veil. We saw brood in the larva and pupa stages, some pollen, and lots of honey. We even got to taste a little honey. Here is a letter my nephew wrote me after seeing all the bees. He wanted me to fill in the blanks like a worksheet.
For starters, what is brood? Brood is a word to describe the egg, larva, and pupa stages of an insects life. In these stages the insect doesn't really look like an insect with 6 legs and 3 body segments (head, thorax, and abdomen). In this photo below, you can see two stages of brood. Near the bottom right you can see small white specks. They may look like rice, but they are really eggs. As they grow they start to turn and curl. That is when they become larva. Larva look like small white or cream colored worms. You can see some larva to the left in the photo.
When the larva grows large enough to fill the cell it is ready for the pupa stage. The cell is capped and the brood begins to develop into the shape and eventually the color of a bee. In the Pupa stage the brood develops 6 legs, the head, thorax, and abdomen. In this photo you can see the larva growing to fill the cell and you can all see the capped cells. Both photos were taken by David Solovey. Thanks for the great shots.
It only takes a week to start seeing that the queen is doing her job. Here is a photo of larva and other worker bees taking good care of them. Young bees that take care of larva are called nurse bees. You may have to look closely to see the larva in the comb. Can you find them?
Staring at the dancing bees in an observation hive, it hits me. I love how these tiny creatures communicate. It looks like they're having fun dancing around while telling their sisters where to find some nectar.
Amanda's Sting Count
2013- 6 stings