Magician, alchemist, master builder, diligent worker …. the humble honey bee
Some trivia about Apis Mellifera:
- Female bees make up about 99% of a colony, and they are mainly the workers, the ones that go out and foraging for nectar.
- Drones are the males and their one and only role is to fertilise the queen and are often kicked out before the onset of winter.
- Female bees, a.k.a. worker bees have an average life span on about four weeks.
- Bees forage within 5km radius of their hive.
- Worker bees tend to die from exhaustion and their wings are worn out from the friction of flying.
- During its entire foraging life, a worker bee would produce enough honey to cover the surface of a fingernail.
- A biological machine, the queen bee lives only to lay eggs, as many as 2000 per day.
- The queen and drones mate in mid air, know as the “nuptial flight.”
- In the act of mating, the drones committed sexual suicide, meaning they die with their endophallus attached to the queen as they fly away from her.
- Bees help pollinate about 2/3 of the plant species worldwide.
- Only worker bees can administer a sting, and in doing so she dies as the sting barb is firmly embedded and as she flies away, it rips open her abdomen.
- A cell is precisely constructed – hexagonal with a three four-sided figures at the base.
There is a revival of urban beekeeping in Melbourne, which is much needed. Bees worldwide are tremendous threat, especially from pesticide widely used in monoculture non-organic farming practice.
If you have small yard, or a rooftop and would like to keep a beehive or two, check out this blog site and get in contact with urban beekeeper Martin O’Callaghan at The Urban Hive.
For further reading:
- A short History of the Honey Bee by E. Readicker-Henderson
- Bees by Rudolph Steiner
- Some Interesting Facts About Honeybees (amog.com)