Inside the Hive
Bees are four-winged stinging social insects producing wax and honey. They live all over the world except Antarctica. There are more than 20,000 species, or types, of bee. The best-known kinds are honeybees and bumblebees. Like all insects, bees have six legs. They have two pairs of wings and five eyes. They also have mouth parts that act like a long tongue.
We can distinguish among them queens, workers and drones.
Some people are afraid of bees, for they think that the bees will sting them, but unless a bee is frightened it does not sting. So the bee flying from flower to flower to collect honey and pollen is not dangerous.
There are thousands of bees in a hive, but only one queen, who spends all her time laying eggs. The queen bee is the biggest bee in the hive.
There are two other kinds of bees in the hive: drones and workers. Drones are larger than the workers and have no stingers. They don’t do any work, but one drone mates with the queen and is the father of all the hive’s workers.
The worker bees must look after the eggs until the little bees that hatch out are able to take part in the work of the hive.
The youngest bees clean out the cells and make bee-bread out of flower pollen and honey to feed the larvae. Some workers are soldiers that guard the hive and chase away any bees, wasps, and other insects that might try to steal the hive’s honey.
Wax must be made to build the cells of the honey comb, and from morning till night honey has to be collected.
Interesting facts about bees
– People have kept honeybees for their honey for at least 4,000 years. Honeybees also produce beeswax, which people use to make candles.
– Male bees cannot sting.
– The person responsible for unraveling the dance language of honey bees was Karl von Frisch, who received a Nobel Prize in 1973 for this work.
– Bees are able to detect mines and other explosive devices or substances. That is why they are on “official duty” at the Pentagon.
– To make 1 kg of honey, bees must visit 10 million flowers and fly a distance of 300 thousand kilometers.
– If the worker bee uses its stinger, it will die.
– Propolis is a sticky substance that bees collect from the buds of trees. Bees use it to protect their hive from wind and rain. People use propolis in medicine because of its antibacterial properties.
– Bee is a symbol of wisdom, fertility, diligence, efficiency, purity and chastity. In some cultures the bee was a symbol of the sky and stars, as well as participated in the creation of the world. The bees depicted on the tombs meant immortality and resurrection. In Greek, the Aryan, the Middle East, the Islamic cultures bees are an allegory of the soul.
– The bee was the emblem of Lower Egypt. It is a symbol of birth, death and resurrection, harmonious life, diligence and integrity.
– In ancient India, the bee was the symbol of Indra, Vishnu, Krishna, and Shiva.
– In Greece bees were considered the guardians of eloquence and singing, “birds of the Muses”.
– In heraldry bee can be seen in many coats of arms.