Like ants, bees also live in a social community, divided into three castes: queen bee, worker bee and drones.
They live in colonies called beehives, made up of honeycombs. Each honeycomb is made up of hundreds of cells built by bees. The central cells are used to contain the larvae and the eggs, the lateral ones for the honey and the pollen.
At the center of the comb is the QUEEN BEE, the only fertile female, which can live up to 4/5 years, recognizable by its very long abdomen and sting. The only task of the queen bee is to lay the eggs, which she begins to lay 2-5 days after mating (she can lay up to 2,000 eggs a day). Females will be born from fertilized eggs, while males will be born from unfertilized eggs. When a new queen is born, swarming will occur, in which the old queen and the primary colony will look for a new hive.
The worker bee is a sterile female, lives about 40 days during summer season and several months during the winter season. It has a much more developed mouthparts and nervous system than those of males, which allows it to carry out all the necessary work inside the hive.
The duties of the worker bee depend on her age: immediately after birth, she carries out cleaning work of the cell. Later she is enrolled in the ranks of nurses in which she produces royal jelly. From the tenth to the sixteenth day of life, she takes care of the construction work inside the hive. For a few days, the bee in charge of receiving the nectar will become the guardian of the hive. As a last task, she will play the role of forager, she will collect everything necessary for the survival of the hive from the outside.
The Drone is the male of the bee, it is larger in size than the worker bee, it has the task of fertilizing the queen bee. At the end of the nuptial flight, only one drone will have the privilege of fertilizing the queen, while the other males will first be deprived of the food and then slaughtered by the workers.
The products of the hive:
- Pollen, collected by foraging bees to be transformed into royal jelly. it can be yellow, orange, blue, violet, depending on the flower. Contains a large amount of proteins and sugars;
- Honey is a sugary substance and is the most abundant product of the hive, obtained from nectar and molasses, reworked and regurgitated in the honeycomb cells;
- Propolis, a waxy and resinous substance, is produced by some foraging bees which take the resinous secretions of the buds of some trees, to which the salivary secretions of the workers are added. It is used to coat the internal walls of the cells and of the queen bee cell, to prevent the onset of putrefaction processes;
- Royal jelly is secreted by the supracerebral glands of nurse bees, rich in lipids, sugars, trace elements, vitamins b.