The bee family is a single community of insects that are closely interconnected, issuing signal movements and sounds, exchanging pheromones and food. For each individual, the corresponding functions are determined, therefore, bees cannot live and reproduce outside the family.
What is a bee family?
Due to the dependence of each family member on each other, a huge amount of pollen and honey is collected, the optimum temperature and humidity in the hive compartments are maintained. Bees can breed and defend themselves from any enemies.
Each bee family has its own specific features:
- resistance to winter conditions;
- ability to swarm and collect honey;
- tendency to incidence;
- level of aggressiveness.
The uterus plays a huge role in the family, after the replacement of which the conditions can change. This is due to the fact that generation is changing, respectively, and heredity.
The family consists of such members:
- the uterus is one;
- working individuals - females with an underdeveloped reproductive system;
- drones are males.
On the whole, the family in the summer can have 80,000 bees, in the winter - 20,000. Insects can develop intensively mainly under favorable conditions. This is the right temperature, enough feed. The growth of bees slows down in the autumn, in the winter - stops.
Bee family life
The bee family is characterized by polymorphism, which in translation means polymorphism. This is manifested in the presence of a male and 2 types of females. This happened against the backdrop of evolution.
The uterus is not able to work, but only lay eggs. However, she can not feed and raise offspring, take care of housing. Workers do all the work, while drones do absolutely nothing. Working bees get pollen, feed the uterus from the proboscis, equip the hive. Feature - females cannot replace the uterus due to underdevelopment of the genitals.
The life span of insects is affected by the time of year, the strength of the whole family, and the amount of sugar processed. Working individuals in the summer live a month or two, during dormancy - up to 8 months. Their life expectancy depends on their ability to work (the more they work, the less they live). The life of the uterus reaches 4 years, but subject to high-quality maintenance, they can live 5 years.
Based on the integrity of the biological system of the bee family, there are characteristic signs:
- Common origin. Drones and bees are born from a single ovipositing uterus.
- Lack of ability to self-exist, that is, no member of the family can live apart.
- Commonality of functionality. Individuals care about protection, offspring, regulate the microclimate in the hive.
- Subtlety and flexibility of distribution of functions - each species of individuals is engaged in its own business.
- Strict submission to the general rules of the family.
Ontogenesis (development) depends on growth and differentiation (the process of realization of the genetic phenotype of cells according to their ability and functionality). That is, from the processes that occur in the bee organism throughout life.
Features of development:
- Females develop while in the egg at the moment when the egg nucleus merges with the sperm. The ontogenesis of males is considered the beginning of the crushing period of the nucleus in the egg, which has not yet been fertilized. This happens against the background of a prenatal type of development, when an egg is formed in the ovaries of the uterus, and spermatozoa in the seminal part of the male.
- After this, the embryonic period of ontogenesis begins, when the embryo develops inside the egg. If the egg is fertilized, then the development takes 3 days, if not, then the time increases by 10 hours. On the first day, the egg is in an upright position, on the second - it takes an angle of 45 degrees, on the third - it sinks to the bottom. Inside, a larva is formed that does not have visual organs, smell. It is not pigmented, most of the body consists of the middle intestine. A couple of hours before its release, hive insects fill the cells with royal milk, so the eggs are in a floating state. If the nurse bees producing milk for feeding the larvae of working insects are not enough, then the larvae come out dry (there is not enough bee milk).
Future uterus is predominantly fed with royal jelly.
- Then comes the postembryonic period when the worm-shaped larva leaves the egg. It does not excrete excrement so that the feed is not contaminated. From this moment to the transformation into an adult insect, about 25 days can pass. Before pupation, hemolymph accumulates enzymes that synthesize melanin, which leads to darkening of the cuticle.
- The pre-pupal period begins, in which the larva molts 5 times: the first 4 times over 3-7 days. The fifth molt is the final one. Shedding is a gradual dropping of the shell, as the insect increases in size. At this time, the larva does not need food, because it is actively engaged in weaving a cocoon.
- The pupal developmental stage is characterized by a 6th molt lasting 9 days. An insect forms at this time.
- During the period of the pupa and the pre-pupa, the uterus is in a sealed cell, therefore, it cannot move and eat. In the fat body of the larva, nutrients accumulate. It is these reserves that the female uses.
- Immediately after release, the larva is placed on the abdomen, and the side is turned over one day later. On the third day, he takes the pose of a half ring, on the fourth - a closed or open ring. On the fifth day, the tip with the head rises, on the sixth - the larvae increase to the size of the cell.
- How is feeding: in the first 3 days, the larvae of working bees are fed with milk, after which bee bread and honey. This inhibits the formation of the female genital organs. Body weight increases 1,500 times in 6 days.
- How the bees look after the larvae: working individuals fly into the cell 1,000-2,000 times a day to create a special microclimate. The temperature should be 35 degrees, humidity - a maximum of 80%. After 6-7 days, the cells are sealed with specific caps that will ensure normal air exchange. The cap is made of pollen and porous wax.
- 21 days after birth, the bees gnaw through the created lid, going outside.
Distinctive features of color development:
- immediately after pupation, the color of the facet eyes is white;
- on the third day acquires a yellow tint;
- on the fourth - pinkish;
- on the 16th - lilac, while the chest resembles ivory;
- The 18th day - a dark abdomen, joints and claws - tan;
- 19th - the breast becomes even darker, the eyes acquire a purple tone;
- 20th day - the body looks dark gray.
Development after going out:
- When leaving the cell in cloudy weather, the bee should rest for 3 days. Adults feed her, but she herself can eat the remnants of the cap. During this time, the young working female puts herself in order, after which she begins to clean the cells. Some insects polish them to a shine with propolis .
- Up to 7-10 days, young growth is located near the uterus, feeding it and growing larvae. During this period, milk is produced in sufficient quantities. Up to 6 days of life are fed larvae 4-6 days old. Next, the youngest are fed.
- After a week of age, young glands develop wax glands, therefore, wax in the form of plates is secreted. Bees become builders - they polish pollen, process nectar, and build honeycombs.
- After 2 or more weeks, the wax glands cease to be synthesized, so insects switch to care for the nest - they clean the cells, collect and take out garbage.
- After 20 days of life, bees acquire the status of sentinels. They protect the summer, they can distinguish between alien individuals. For the first time they begin to fly out, which makes it possible to remember the clear location of the hive. The insect flies exclusively with its head toward the taphole, making semicircular movements.
- When the age reaches 22-25 days, the working bees fully fly out of the "house" to collect honey. The picker should inform the rest of the individuals about the location of the nectar. She makes it a visual biocommunication.
- After a month of age, the bee collects water for the whole family. This period is characterized by a high degree of insect mortality, since often they collect water from natural sources. In order to prevent this, the apiary must take care of the availability of drinking bowls with quality water in the apiary.
Such a cyclical activity of bees makes it possible to more rationally utilize nutrients and use the available number of family members. Nutrients are most found in the period of exit from the cell.
If the uterus or brood dies, then the beekeeper needs to establish in which period it happened. Therefore, it is imperative to know what each stage of development is characterized by.
In order to increase the productivity of the bee colony, it is necessary to properly maintain the apiary. There are rules that are mandatory during the honey collection period:
- honey processing and pumping;
- timely and high-quality feeding ;
- lack of a digging process;
- family work organization;
- arrangement of wintering.
How to keep bees:
- The standard parameters of the socket are 9 mm, but innovative developments increase this gap to 12 mm. Actual for multi-housing content. But this leads to an increase in feed consumption during wintering. In the back sections of the intestine of insects, undigested food debris accumulates, therefore, after the hive has been exposed in spring, the bees must fly around to clean. Deviation from natural parameters (in a hollow, a deck) provokes early swarming, which is beneficial for the beekeeper - the family multiplies and settles earlier and better. Read more about bee breeding in different ways - read here .
- Approximately on the third day after the opening of the hives in spring, workers bring pollen to the nests, and the uterus lays eggs. The beekeeper during this period should expand the nests and begin the countdown of 36 days. It follows that in 20-21 days a new generation will appear (24 days pass after the exhibition). After another 12 days (36th day), the young growth will be engaged in the construction of the honeycomb frames, so the hive must be provided with wax. If all work is carried out correctly, to withstand the angle of the base of the cells (should be 110 degrees), then the construction will take place quickly, the uterus will become more intense in worms.
- The beekeeper must place fodder stocks in the form of honey and bee bread. The arrangement should correspond to natural conditions - the pergovye frames are set under the brood.
- If insects are kept in multihull hives, then the honeycombs are set up like a pyramid (nests will be formed according to the principle - 7, 9, 11).
- The ceiling must be airtight so that no heat is lost. This will prevent the use of waste products of bee insects in air exchange.
- Experienced beekeepers prefer multi-body designs, because it is possible to reduce and expand nests with hulls rather than separate frames. This leads to a decrease in human labor costs and an increase in the number of bee colonies. But in this case, stimulating top dressing with full of honey is taken into account. This will replenish feed in the autumn in the brood housing.
- Multi-housing content provides for a number of works without inspecting the frames and disassembling the nest:
- nest reduction and bottom cleaning - remove one housing;
- expansion - add aft housing;
- installation of a “building” building;
- transportation of the family for pollination and collection of honey for various crops;
- installation of shop coasters for placement of a honey product;
- honey selection;
- preparation for wintering.
- Designs of hives are selected based on climatic conditions (air temperature, intensity and frequency of the wind), terrain, the need to increase productivity. If intensive honey collection is planned, the hive should be bulky. If frequent transportation is expected, preference is given to hives that are convenient for transportation.
- The structure of nesting buildings should be more in line with natural conditions, which will make the family stronger.
- Feed must be plentiful and sound.
Additionally, read the instruction manual for the novice beekeeper .
- Bees provide winter rest after the onset of cold weather. In the hive, the temperature should be from 0 degrees to +7. It is this regime that provides the optimal concentration of CO2 (if we talk about the biological optimum, then the concentration should be 1-3.5%). If the temperature and concentration of CO2 are higher, the bee family activates, and this leads to over-expenditure of feed and premature diarrhea (excess stool creates pathological loads on the back of the intestine).
- Winter streets should have a size of 9 mm. This will ensure a normal level of carbon dioxide, which is important for a smooth transition of the bee organism to a state of rest.
- For the winter, no more than 5 kg of feed is placed in one family.
- During the winter period, the beekeeper must constantly listen to the hives - the club should not create rustling, hum, buzzing. Bees usually swirl in clusters hanging from a bed. This is a natural feature of insects to create an optimal microclimate.
The uterus for the entire family of thousands of bees is one and the main, therefore it is called the queen and queen of the hive. She is the only one of all females who have a normally developed reproductive system. Responsible for fertilization, reproduction of the brood. Its quality is determined by the number of eggs laid. The uterus should hatch 1,700-2,000 eggs per day. If the bee can not cope with their duties, they will change it to another individual.
Each working bee and drone distinguishes its uterus by a specific smell, so if you plant a new queen in the hive, the family will perceive her as a threatening enemy, followed by destruction. For this reason, two queens cannot be in the same family at the same time.
The uterus, which mated at least once with the male, is considered to be fetal. Her features, unlike other females and drones:
- weight is from 180 to 330 mg (infertile weighs 170-220 mg);
- body length - from 2 to 2.5 cm;
- eyes smaller than others;
- torpedo-shaped abdomen;
- elongated body;
- the queen is characterized by increased slowness;
- lives mainly in the hive (leaves the house only for the time of mating, swarming);
- life expectancy is 4-5 years;
- has a special smell that comes from the pheromones produced by it;
- she is the only bee who does not die after releasing the sting.
After a couple of years, the uterus has reduced reproductive ability, it hatch less eggs. Moreover, mostly drones are born. Therefore, beekeepers during this period replace it with a new one.
The main function of the uterus is to procreate, laying eggs. It is she who unites the entire genus, highlighting a special substance that is transmitted to all members of the family. The mistress of the hive directly affects the overall productivity of the bees, their livelihoods and numbers.
The uterus is excreted in 2 ways - naturally and artificially. In the first case, the insects themselves rebuild the queen cell, where the uterus lays an egg. In order for the uterus to be born, the larva is fed with royal jelly, which has a special hormone in its composition.
Artificial excretion includes the following steps:
- The bee housewife, along with an open brood, is removed from the hive (only larvae and eggs that have been recently laid remain inside).
- The bottom of the honeycomb is trimmed.
- Cut mother liquors and place them in the hive.
- Return the uterus to its place.
There is another technology for breeding queens, but it is used extremely rarely, as it is considered difficult. But experienced beekeepers try to use this particular method, because it makes it possible to obtain prolific and high-quality queens. The essence of the method is to place the larvae in wax sacs and artificial feeding them with royal jelly.
To get a solid mistress of the hive, follow these rules:
- use the most powerful families;
- evenly distribute queen cells over a swarm to ensure complete feeding;
- maintain a favorable air temperature (32-33 degrees);
- consider humidity (60-80%);
- stick to the uterus withdrawal calendar;
- control the process of fertilization and the appearance of layering.
For mating, the queen performs a mating round, after which fertilization immediately occurs. This occurs within 10 days after leaving the mother liquor. The process goes like this:
- In the first 3-5 days (depending on the age and strength of the uterus), the queen rests. The beekeeper must destroy the remaining mother liquors during this period.
- Next, the uterus makes a flight, remembers the location of the hive, and is guided by the terrain.
- On the 7th day, a departure for mating is carried out. Drones, who felt the pheromones of a bee ready for mating games, are quickly sent for it. However, only the strongest and fastest individuals can catch up. After mating, she comes back.
- After 3 days (on the 10th day after leaving the mother liquor), the uterus conducts primary sowing.
It is strictly forbidden to scare the female these days, as she usually flies a long distance. In an unfamiliar area, the uterus does not navigate, so it will never return back (die).
If it happened that during the mating period you need to disturb the hive, follow the recommendations:
- When examining, proceed with caution; do not use fumes or other products that irritate bees.
- Inspect the hive is permissible until 11 o’clock in the afternoon.
- It is necessary to select honey after a decrease in the activity of insect mortality, that is, after 5 pm.
Bees always feel when their queen is dead. A person can notice this, because insects begin to fly quickly in search of a mother and make a lot of noise. About 2 hours after that, they already feel like orphans.
If the beekeeper artificially plants a bee, then this should be done 10-12 hours after the death of the old uterus. As mentioned above, the bee family can replace the uterus independently. Insects feel when the queen is aging (her smell changes) or is damaged.
Self-replacement is carried out in quiet ways:
- Separation is carried out with the existing female. The family must be divided into 2 equal parts and choose 6 frames with sushi. The period is after one-day sowing. In the part where the uterus is absent, the bees will independently lay the queen from the larvae. After the new uterus gets stronger (about 4-7 days after birth), and the family gets used to it, the two parts are again connected together. A stronger and younger individual destroys the old one.
- Damage to the queen. The beekeeper should take the uterus and artificially damage it. Working insects destroy it after a while, and then remove a new uterus.
Artificial creation of queens:
- Replanting. A cap or box is used. Remove the cage from the hive, place the bee on it so that it does not fly away and leave its smell. After a couple of hours, the old uterus is removed and the young one is planted. Next, the cell is installed in the upper frames in the center of the nest. Wait 2 hours. Working insects should feed it. If the result is positive, the cell opens. With caps act in an identical way. But the bees to the new queen will pave the way through the honeycombs. There is a risk of rejection of a young individual. Then you have to repeat the procedure with another new uterus.
- Shaking off. The family needs to be shaken abruptly on a letok or in a hive, from which insects will get confused and forget about their queen. At this time, plant a new "mother". However, the method does not always justify itself, as the bees just start to get angry.
- Aromatization. Effective method. Glue, swarm and a young uterus are sprayed with sugared water, a solution with mint drops. This makes it possible in the process of licking a new individual with bees to get used to its smell and accept it.
- Replanting to the mother. In the evening, you need to take an empty leu, spray it with mint drops. In the morning, you need to form layers from the young, putting it next to a strong swarm. In the evening of the same day, a young uterus is placed, which makes a flyby. When fertility is due, both families reunite. An old mother is destroyed by bees.
- Sprinkling. It is used when the old uterus is dead. In the evening, a young mother is planted, but previously she is covered with a cap. In the morning it is removed, and the insect is sprinkled with ordinary flour. This method is proposed on the Internet, but beekeepers have not yet been tested.
Drones are males that feed on exchange with working bees. At the end of summer, the latter stop feeding brood of drones, not allowing adult males to eat their food. Moreover, they begin to drive them out of the hives.
This indicates the end of the main period of honey collection. Therefore, such individuals usually do not survive before wintering. But this is possible only if there is no uterus in the swarm. For many beekeepers, drones are a burden, since they, apart from mating, do nothing, but eat nutritious food and infect the rest of the family with varroatosis.
Males appear in the period before the honey collection, that is, in late spring. Approximately on the 10th day after the release, the drone can fully mate. The number of these insects reaches from 200 to several thousand. Characteristics:
- weight - 220-250 mg;
- body length - from 1.5 to 1.7 cm;
- the body is wide;
- rounded tail;
- when flying, high speed develops;
- at rest they are characterized by slowness;
- quickly navigate in space;
- when flying, they make loud bass sounds;
- missing sting;
- fly away from the hive for 15 km;
- death occurs after mating;
- development period is 24 days.
The only function of the drones is to mate with the queen of the hive. Drones are constantly fighting for the right to mate with the uterus. The strongest win, but die immediately. Males who have never mated die of hunger after being expelled from the family.
The beekeeper can observe the mating process, noting weaker individuals. This makes it possible to artificially reject them, so the uterus will have only strong and prolific males.
Males live a relatively short life - up to 3 months. The time of their appearance in spring is due to climatic and weather conditions, the age of the queen, a bribe, and the strength of a swarm. When drones are withdrawn, their cells are placed around the perimeter of the honeycombs, but if there are not enough, the bee places larvae directly on the honeycombs.
After exiting the cells for a decade, working insects artificially feed males. This is necessary for the full formation of the latter. A week after the release, the male first makes a flyby, familiarizing himself with the location and environment.
The number of males in the bee colony largely depends on the quality of the honeycombs, breed, but each family naturally rejects weak individuals. However, it happens that the drones are farmed too much, which negatively affects the swarm and the amount of honey collected, so beekeepers must monitor their quantity. Normally, males are enough 200-500 units.
A family cannot exist without males, and not only because they are needed for mating. It turns out that one can judge the quality of the uterus and the swarm as a whole. So, if after the expulsion in the fall, drones still remain in the hive, this indicates that the uterus has become infertile or died. In addition, when the air temperature drops, the males, flying into the hive, huddle together, creating favorable conditions in the "room".
If the males manage to winter in the hive, in the spring they will die, because they can not tolerate low temperatures, against which they become weak.
Working individuals have an average life expectancy between the uterus and the drone - from 30 days to several months. If the bee was hatched in March, life is 35 days, if in June - a maximum of 30, if in the fall - 3-8 months. But it also happens that insects exist for a year (when there is no brood in the nest). The reason for this is the increased nutrition of the bee bread, due to which reserve substances accumulate in the body. In addition, it is not necessary to spend energy on work in the winter.
In autumn, after honey collection, working females increase body weight by 15-19%. These individuals have an underdeveloped reproductive system, but, despite this, in the absence of a swarm of the uterus, they can lay eggs in the amount of 20-30 pieces. However, they are all unfertilized. The calculation does not occur at the bottom of the cells, but on the walls, which distinguishes working individuals from the uterus.
Tinder bees are of 2 types: anatomical (eggs begin to develop in their ovaries) and physiological (these eggs are laid). The first can be up to 90%, the second - 25% for the whole family.
Flying and hive bees
Worker bees are divided into two main groups:
- Hives are those individuals that are in the hive after exiting the cells. At first, they gain strength, after which they begin to feed the larvae, then they are engaged in cleaning the hive and building. When the time of departure comes, they make preliminary flights, turning the head to their house. After getting acquainted with the territory, bee hives become flying. In their place come again born individuals.
- Flying - collect pollen and nectar, transport water and sticky resinous substances to the hive. It is they who work during the period of honey collection intensively.
There are up to 80,000 working bees in one bee colony during the collection of honey, but in the off-season their number is significantly reduced - up to 30,000. Features:
- Weight - 90-115 mg.
- The length of the body is 1.2-1.4 cm.
- Particular attention should be paid to their body temperature during operation, since it depends on the temperature of the air. If on the street + 23-26 degrees, then the body has a temperature of 35-37, if the air is 36-37 degrees, then the body is +42. Thus, after the working process, the body is hotter than air.
What does a working bee do:
- collects nectar and pollen;
- produces honey;
- lays honey reserves in honeycombs;
- builds a honeycomb;
- feeds brood;
- caring for the uterus;
- brings water;
- engaged in cleaning the hive, rubbing it to a shine with propolis;
- controls the level of microclimate in the house;
- protects the nest (working individuals produce the toxic substance apitoxin, which sting enemies to death).
How does a bee family work? (video)
In this video, you can visually examine the bee family and find out interesting facts about bees:
If you decide to engage in bee breeding, be sure to study the information materials about each member of the bee colony, consult with experienced beekeepers and strictly follow all the rules for their maintenance.