Bees - Key Information

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Useful Facts about Bees

There is only one queen bee in the hive. She lays up to 1,500 eggs a day. Most of these hatch after three days into little larvae, that are fed for another four days until they are big and fat. Then adult bees build a cap over their cell and over the next six days they turn into adults with big eyes, six legs and two pairs of wings. When they are twenty days old, they bite a hole in the wax cap and climb out, ready to start work.

Worker bees have to do many jobs in the hive before they ever fly out of the entrance. They look after the ‘baby’ larvae, feed and fuss over the queen, they clean out the hive and build new wax comb. They huddle up and shiver to keep warm on cold days, and flap their wings like fans to cool the hive when it is hot. A few bees stand guard at the entrance to make sure no invaders come in, others receive food and turn it into honey. The last job of a worker bee is to fly out to collect food for all the bees inside the hive.

Bees collect nectar from flowers. Back in the hive, they make it into honey by passing it from one bee’s mouth to another, then they store it in the mini ‘jars’ of the wax comb, and flap their wings until it is thick and will not go off. Then they put a wax ‘lid’ on to seal it, and it keeps forever.

They also collect pollen from flowers, which they carry in special ‘baskets’ on their back legs. Back in the hive they mix it with honey to make bee bread to feed the growing larvae.

Bees fly up to three miles from their hive to find food. When one discovers a new plant with lots of nectar or pollen, she carries some back to the hive for the others to taste, and dances a waggle dance on the comb to tell them where to go to collect more.