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Novel hybrid strains of domestic and re-domesticated Africanized honey bees combine high resilience to tropical conditions and good yields.
They are popular among beekeepers in Brazil. Tribe Apini Latreille . As in a few other types of eusocial bees, a colony generally contains one queen bee , a female; seasonally up to a few thousand drone bees , or males;  and tens of thousands of female worker bees.
Details vary among the different species of honey bees, but common features include:. The worker bees rotate through the cluster from the outside to the inside so that no bee gets too cold.
The colder the weather is outside, the more compact the cluster becomes. During winter, they consume their stored honey to produce body heat.
During the summer, however, this is achieved through fanning and water evaporation from water collected in various fields. Of all the honey bee species, only A.
Species of Apis are generalist floral visitors, and pollinate many species of flowering plants, but because of their "generalized" nature, they do so inefficiently.
Without specialized adaptations for specific flowers, their ability to reach pollen and nectar is often limited.
What's more, their tendency to visit all species in a given area means that the pollen they carry for any one species is often very diluted.
As such, they can provide some pollination to many plants, especially non-native crops, but most native plants have some native pollinator that is far more effective at pollinating that species.
Western honey bees are often described as being essential to all human food production, leading to claims that without their pollination, all of humanity would starve, or even die out.
In fact, many important crops need no insect pollination at all. Soybeans are self-pollinated. Rice , wheat , sorghum , and maize are all wind pollinated , as are most other grasses.
Similarly, no crops originating in the New World depend on the western honey bee Apis mellifera at all, as the insect is invasive, having been brought over with colonists in the last few centuries.
Tomatoes , peppers , squash , and all other New World crops evolved with native pollinators like squash bees , bumble bees , and other native bees.
The stingless bees mentioned by Jefferson are distant relatives of the honey bees, in the genus Melipona.
Honey bees obtain all of their nutritional requirements from a diverse combination of pollen and nectar.
Pollen is the only natural protein source for honey bees. Adult worker honey bees consume 3. Of these amino acids, honey bees require highest concentrations of leucine, isoleucine, and valine, however elevated concentrations of arginine and lysine are required for brood rearing.
Pyridoxine is the most prevalent B vitamin found in royal jelly and concentrations vary throughout the foraging season with lowest concentrations found in May and highest concentrations found in July and August.
Honey bees lacking dietary pyridoxine were unable to rear brood. Pollen is also a lipid source for honey bees ranging from 0.
Fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K are not considered essential but have shown to significantly improve the number of brood reared.
Nurse bees have the ability to selectively transfer sterols to larvae through brood food. Nectar is collected by foraging worker bees as a source of water and carbohydrates in the form of sucrose.
The dominant monosaccharides in honey bee diets are fructose and glucose but the most common circulating sugar in hemolymph is trehalose which is a disaccharide consisting of two glucose molecules.
Honey bees require water to maintain osmotic homeostasis, prepare liquid brood food, and to cool the hive through evaporation.
A colony's water needs can generally be met by nectar foraging as it has high water content. Occasionally on hot days or when nectar is limited, foragers will collect water from streams or ponds to meet the needs of the hive.
The only domesticated species of honey bee are A. In Japan, where mellifera is vulnerable to local hornets and disease, the Japanese honey bee a.
Modern hives also enable beekeepers to transport bees, moving from field to field as the crop needs pollinating and allowing the beekeeper to charge for the pollination services they provide, revising the historical role of the self-employed beekeeper, and favoring large-scale commercial operations.
Bees of various types other than honey bees are also domesticated and used for pollination or other means around the world, including Tetragonula iridipennis in India, the blue orchard bee for tree nut and fruit pollination in the United States, and a number of species of Bombus bumblebees for pollination in various regions globally, such as tomatoes , which are not effectively pollinated by honey bees.
Primarily in places where western honey bees were imported by humans, periodic collapses in western honey bee populations have occurred at least since the late 19th century.
This has been dubbed "colony collapse disorder" CCD and was at first unexplained. Larval stages of the moth G. Eggs are laid within the hive, and the larvae that hatch tunnel through and destroy the honeycombs that contain bee larva and their honey stores.
The tunnels they create are lined with silk, which entangles and starves emerging bees. Destruction of honeycombs also result in honey leaking and being wasted.
Both G. To manage the mite, temperature treatments are possible, but also distorts wax of the honeycombs. Chemical fumigants, particularly CO 2 , are also used.
Honey is the complex substance made when bees ingest nectar, process it, and store the substance into honey combs. Worker bees of a certain age secrete beeswax from a series of exocrine glands on their abdomens.
As with honey, beeswax is gathered by humans for various purposes such as candle making, waterproofing, soap and cosmetics manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, art, furniture polish and more.
Bees collect pollen in their pollen baskets and carry it back to the hive. Worker bees combine pollen, honey and glandular secretions and allow it to ferment in the comb to make bee bread.
The fermentation process releases additional nutrients from the pollen and can produce antibiotics and fatty acids which inhibit spoilage.
In the hive, pollen is used as a protein source necessary during brood-rearing. In certain environments, excess pollen can be collected from the hives of A.
The product is used as a health supplement. It has been used with moderate success as a source of pollen for hand pollination. Bee brood — the eggs, larvae or pupae of honey bees — is nutritious and seen as a delicacy in countries such as Indonesia,  Mexico, Thailand, and many African countries; it has been consumed since ancient times by the Chinese and Egyptians.
Propolis is a resinous mixture collected by honey bees from tree buds, sap flows or other botanical sources, which is used as a sealant for unwanted open spaces in the hive.
Royal jelly is a honey bee secretion used to nourish the larvae. Honey bees have three castes : drones , workers, and queens.
Drones are typically haploid , having only one set of chromosomes , and primarily exist for the purpose of reproduction.
There are rare instances of diploid drone larvae. This phenomenon usually arises when there are more than two generations of brother-sister mating.
In developing bees, if the conditions are that the individual is heterozygous for the csd gene, they will develop into females.
If the conditions are so that the individual is hemizygous or homozygous for the csd gene, they will develop into males. The instances where the individual is homozygous at this gene are the instances of diploid males.
They do not defend the hive or kill intruders, and do not have a stinger. Workers have two sets of chromosomes. Workers typically develop in 21 days.
A typical colony may contain as many as 60, worker bees. Their duties change upon the age of the bee in the following order beginning with cleaning out their own cell after eating through their capped brood cell : feed brood, receive nectar, clean hive, guard duty, and foraging.
Workers have morphological specializations, including the pollen basket corbicula ,  abdominal glands that produce beeswax, brood-feeding glands, and barbs on the sting.
Under certain conditions for example, if the colony becomes queenless , a worker may develop ovaries. Worker honey bees perform different behavioural tasks that cause them to be exposed to different local environments.
Queen honey bees are created when worker bees feed a single female larvae an exclusive diet of a food called " royal jelly ".
In addition to the greater size of the queen, she has a functional set of ovaries, and a spermatheca, which stores and maintains sperm after she has mated.
Apis queens practice polyandry , with one female mating with multiple males. The highest documented mating frequency for an Apis queen is in Apis nigrocincta , where queens mate with an extremely high number of males with observed numbers of different matings ranging from 42 to 69 drones per queen.
Once mated, queens may lay up to 2, eggs per day. When a fertile female worker produces drones, a conflict arises between her interests and those of the queen.
The worker shares half her genes with the drone and one-quarter with her brothers, favouring her offspring over those of the queen. The queen shares half her genes with her sons and one-quarter with the sons of fertile female workers.
This relationship leads to a phenomenon known as "worker policing". In these rare situations, other worker bees in the hive who are genetically more related to the queen's sons than those of the fertile workers will patrol the hive and remove worker-laid eggs.
Another form of worker-based policing is aggression toward fertile females. In very rare instances workers subvert the policing mechanisms of the hive, laying eggs which are removed at a lower rate by other workers; this is known as anarchic syndrome.
Anarchic workers can activate their ovaries at a higher rate and contribute a greater proportion of males to the hive. Although an increase in the number of drones would decrease the overall productivity of the hive, the reproductive fitness of the drones' mother would increase.
The workers and queens have stingers, whereas the drones are stingless. Queen honeybees store sperm in a structure known as the spermatheca , which allows them to control the fertilization of their eggs.
Thus queens can lay eggs that are either unfertilized or fertilized. Unfertilized eggs develop into drones, whereas fertilized eggs develop into females, which may be either workers or virgin queens.
Eggs destined to become queens are deposited in queen cells, which are vertical cells in the honeycomb that are larger than normal.
After hatching, the virgin queens are fed royal jelly , a substance produced by the salivary glands of the workers.
When not fed a diet consisting solely of royal jelly, virgin queens will develop into workers. During the swarming season, in the presence of a weak queen or in the absence of a queen, workers may lay unfertilized eggs, which give rise to drones.
For all three forms of honeybees, eggs hatch in three days and then develop into larvae that are known as grubs. All grubs are fed royal jelly at first, but only the future queens are continued on the diet.
When fully grown, the grubs transform into pupae. Queens emerge in 16 days, workers in about 21 days on average , and drones in 24 days. After emerging, the queens fight among themselves until only one remains in the hive.
The old queen and the majority of her workers typically have left the hive by the time the new queens emerge. The swarm, which typically reproduces during swarming, may form two or more new colonies at different nesting sites.
A queen will often mate with many drones, a mating behaviour known as polyandry. Polyandry increases genetic diversity within a colony and thereby improves colony fitness and survival.
Genetically diverse colonies have characteristics—such as increased population size, foraging activity, and food supplies—that favour the production of new queens and the formation of new colonies.
The hive is a series of combs composed of two layers of six-sided cells made of wax produced and secreted by the workers.
Workers forage for food pollen and nectar from flowers , build and protect the hive, clean, circulate air by beating their wings, and perform many other societal functions.
The queen's job is simple—laying the eggs that will spawn the hive's next generation of bees. There is usually only a single queen in a hive.
Queens also regulate the hive's activities by producing chemicals that guide the behavior of the other bees. Imaginative play lives at the very core and essence of childhood, the ability to lose oneself in free, open-ended play has to be one of the most magical experiences we can have as a child.
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