THE HONEYBEE

BBC Earth (Asia) - - Science -

A worker bee spends three weeks as an egg, larva and pupa. When she emerges as an adult, she spends nearly three weeks in the hive, work­ing her way up the ranks as she does dif­fer­ent jobs. She’ll then spend four days guard­ing the hive en­trance be­fore fly­ing off for the re­main­ing three to four weeks of her life, to gather nec­tar and pollen. She will fly 800km and make one-twelfth of a tea­spoon of honey. Two com­pound eyes, plus three sim­ple ‘ocelli’ that mea­sure light in­ten­sity. Drones have 50 per

cent more facets in their com­pound eyes than work­ers.

Wings

Bees have two pairs of wings but they are con­nected to­gether by a row of wing hooks that keep

them syn­chro­nised.

Hairs

Pick up tiny elec­tro­static charges from flow­ers, which helps them lo­cate good pollen sources and at­tracts the pollen grains to them.

Mouth­parts

Grasshop­pers can only chew, and moths can only suck, but hon­ey­bees can do both since they have mandibles and a

pro­boscis.

Honey stom­ach

The di­ges­tive tract has a sep­a­rate lobe to hold the nec­tar. Hairs at the en­trance

fil­ter out pollen grains.

Wax plates

Glands be­tween the ab­dom­i­nal seg­ments pro­duce wax that grows out­wards as thin plates. Work­ers mould them to form the honeycomb.

Legs

The rear legs have a pollen

bas­ket made of hairs, with a cen­tral long bris­tle that skew­ers the pollen ball

in place.

Sting

As well as venom, the sting re­leases alarm pheromone to sig­nal other bees to at­tack

the same tar­get.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Singapore

© PressReader. All rights reserved.