[Beekeeping] Bees Biology Questions
Hello Bee people J I’m new to the list and have been reading through the archives with a great deal of interest. I have some strange questions to ask about bees which I’m hoping you can answer. I’m writing a children’s novel and it’s about bees. I’ve been doing a lot of research and will be taking a beekeeper’s course later this month. I can’t wait! I hope to be able to keep bees as well. I’ll start with just a few questions so I don’t bombard you too much and scare you all away J
1. The bee has a proboscis that lowers to drink up nectar – Does the bee’s tongue then go down the hollow proboscis to lick up the honey?
2. I’ve read that VSH bees can ‘bite’ a mite which then causes it to die. How can a bee bite anything – what part of the mouth would it use?
3. Royal jelly is at the bottom of the cell where the larva is – like a toddler in little wading pool. Does the larva pee in the pool?
4. Do nurse bees feed the royal jelly to larvae through a nipple or squirt the fluid somehow?
I think kids will find this information fascinating and I haven’t found these answers in any of the material I’ve read so far.
London, Ontario , Canada
I’m referring to an email from a while back, part of which is quoted below. Thanks Mike for this info. It’s been very helpful.
Today’s Question: (Sorry that they’re silly but I am writing a children’s book – it’s almost done by the way!!) I believe that the larva don’t have eyes. Can someone confirm that? It would make sense from a biological standpoint – why have eyes if you don’t really need them? It probably can’t hear either. I’m presuming their job at this stage is to just eat and sleep and later spin a cocoon. The eyes, hearing, etc., comes when they form into a pupa.
Thanks for you help.
London, Ontario , Canada
From: Beekeeping@yahoogroups.com [mailto: Beekeeping@yahoogroups.com ] On Behalf Of Mike
Sent: April 1, 2008 7:40 PM
Subject: [Beekeeping] Re: Bees Biology Questions
> 3. Royal jelly is at the bottom of the cell where the larva is - like a
> toddler in little wading pool. Does the larva pee in the pool?
The mid-gut is not connected to the anus until around the time the larva begins to spin its cocoon. Until then, the larva does not excrete waste (I think). The larva does defecate while spinning the cocoon. It acts as a sort of binder, helping hold the cocoon together.
Further Info: I got confirmation re #3 that the larva does not defecate in the cell. And yes the defecation prior to spinning the cocoon has been confirmed too. I was told that’s the reason why the combs become dark brown almost black is because of this defecation…. Makes me want to never eat old dark comb J
> 4. Do nurse bees feed the royal jelly to larvae through a nipple or squirt the fluid somehow?
Royal jelly is secreted from a gland in the bees head. I'm not certain about the particulars, i.e.; how it gets from the bee to the larvae.
Additional Info: They feed from their mouths and not through their proboscis… that was interesting. It probably secretes into their mouths like our saliva glands do.
There are exhaustive sections on honeybee biology in ABC and XYZ of Bee Culture.
Reply: I got the book and thanks very much for the recommendation! It’s very detailed and I highly recommend it. I don’t think there’s any aspect of beekeeping that isn’t covered in that book and most of it is still relevant today.