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Bees are a type of insect. They live in hives, which are made up of wax. Male bees buzz around the queen and mate, while females do the work. A female has lots of jobs in her life.

Days 1-2 Days 3-5 Days 6-11 Days 12-17 Rest of life
Cell cleaning Nurse Bee Advanced nurse bee Wax production Assorted
Brood cells must be cleaned before the next use. Cells will be inspected by the queen and if unsatisfactory they will not be used. Worker bees in the cleaning phase will perform this cleaning. If the cells are not clean, the worker bee must do it again and again. Brood cells must be cleaned before the next use. Cells will be inspected by the queen and if unsatisfactory they will not be used. Worker bees in the cleaning phase will perform this cleaning. If the cells are not clean, the worker bee must do it again and again. Brood cells must be cleaned before the next use. Cells will be inspected by the queen and if unsatisfactory they will not be used. Worker bees in the cleaning phase will perform this cleaning. If the cells are not clean, the worker bee must do it again and again. Wax bees build cells from wax, repair old cells, and store nectar and pollen brought in by other workers. Early in the worker's career she will exude wax from the space between several of her abdominal segments. Four sets of wax glands, situated inside the last four ventral segments of the abdomen, produce wax for comb construction.



Honey sealing[edit] Edit

Mature honey, sufficiently dried, is sealed tightly with wax to prevent absorption of moisture from the air by workers deputized to do this.

Drone feeding[edit] Edit

Drones do not feed themselves when they are young; they are fed by workers and then when the drone bees get older they feed themselves from the honey supply.

Queen Attendants (days 7-12)[edit] Edit

Queen attendants take care of the queen by feeding and grooming her. Yet, even more important is their incidental role in spreading Queen Mandibular Pheromone (QMP) throughout the hive. This is a pheromone given off by queen. After coming into contact with the queen, the attendants spread QMP throughout the hive, which is a signal to the rest of the bees that the hive still has a viable queen.

Honeycomb building[edit] Edit

Workers will take wax from wax producing workers and build the comb with it.

Pollen packing[edit] Edit

Pollen brought into the hive for feeding the brood is also stored. It must be packed firmly into comb cells and mixed with a small amount of honey so that it will not spoil. Unlike honey, which does not support bacterial life, stored pollen will become rancid without proper care. It has to be kept in honey cells.

Propolizing[edit] Edit

The walls of the hive are covered with a thin coating of propolis, a resinous substance obtained from plants. In combination with enzymes added by the worker this has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Propolis is used to aid with ventilation and at the entrances of hives.

Some bees add excess mud to the mixture, making it geopropolis, such as in the bee Melipona scutellaris.[1] Geopropolis displays antimicrobial and antiproliferative activity and has been proven to be a source of antibiofilm agents. It also presents selectivity against human cancer cell lines at low concentrations compared to normal cells.[2]

Mortuary bees[edit] Edit

Dead bees and failed larvae must be removed from the hive to prevent disease and allow cells to be reused. They will be carried some distance from the hive by mortuary bees.

Fanning bees[edit] Edit

Worker bees fan the hive, cooling it with evaporated water brought by water carriers.[citation needed] They direct airflow into the hive or out of the hive depending on need.

Water carriers[edit] Edit

When the hive is in danger of overheating, these bees will obtain water, usually from within a short distance from the hive and bring it back to spread on the backs of fanning bees. The worker bee has a crop separate from the nectar crop for this purpose.

Guard bees[edit] Edit

Guard bees will stand at the front of the hive entrance, defending it from any invaders such as wasps. The number of guards varies from season to season and from species to species. Entrance size and daily traffic also play an integral role in the number of guard bees present. Guard bees of the species Tetragonisca angustula and Schwarziana quadripunctata are examples of eusocial bees that have been observed hovering at their nest entrances, providing more protection against intruders.[3][4]

Foraging bees (days 22–42)[edit] Edit

The forager and scout bees travel up to 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) to a nectar source, pollen source or to collect propolis.