March 23, 2009
Secret life of bees
My best friend is studying beekeeping.
With that lovely shadow-mustache, I told her she looks like Boris-the-beekeeper.
Watch out here comes Boris to tie those dastardly bees to the railroad tracks. Curses, foiled again! Or is that Snidely Whiplash’s catchphrase?
Here are some things I learned about honeybees last weekend during my visit to the hives:
- There is only one queen bee (everyone knows that) and her main purpose is to produce more bees.
- All the worker bees are female (no big surprise!) Females go through stages with different jobs depending on their age. For example, young females clean the hive and feed the larvae. Older females take flight from the hive and typically spend the rest of their lives foraging for pollen, nectar, and water.
- The sole function of the drones or fertile male bees is to mate with the queen. At the end of the season they are considered unnecessary and driven from the hive to die.
- In recent years honeybee colonies in western countries have been experiencing declining numbers. This is thought to be due to a number of variables such as global warming and changes in agricultural practices.
Honeybees certainly are fascinating creatures. I’m also a fan of the book/movie The Secret Life of Bees.