The worker ‘Honey-bee’….
It is very hard to imagine that the two wings of a honey-bee, which look so delicate and transparent to the human eye, can beat 200 times per second and that a honey bee can fly at a speed of 15 miles per hour! However, these are scientifically proven facts and with this speed a honey-bee can travel up to a distance of six miles from its bee-hive and come back to it in one ‘collection trip’, which may be treated as the longest ‘collection trip’ of a honey-bee!
In a bee-hive, the bees that collect honey, the working bees, are all females! These working class female bees account for more than three-fourths of the number of bees in a bee-hive, which would normally be anywhere between forty and sixty thousand!
One more interesting and heartening fact about the working (female) honey-bee is, in its entire life span of six to eight months, it never sleeps! This is said to be one of the reasons for its comparatively shorter life span when compared to the life-span of the queen bee, which lives up to two to three years!
A honey bee is very clean and cares for the cleanliness of the bee- hive always. It is estimated that in one collection trip a honey bee can pollinate around fifty to hundred flowers! At this rate, it is said that honey bees are responsible for almost 80% of pollination (caused by the insects) that occurs amongst trees! This means, if not for the honey it gives us, we should, in any case, be very much thankful to the honey-bee for the service it is rendering to nature and as a consequence to the man-kind, since it is as a result of this service that we are able to enjoy the ‘fruits’ of nature, literally!
In its entire life span of 6-8 months, it is estimated that a honey bee collects/prepares 1/12th of a tea-spoon quantity of honey! This means, a tea-spoon of honey, which we consume/gulp within an unnoticeably short time of batting an eye-lid, requires the life time toil of twelve hard working honey bees!
All the bees we see outside of the bee-hive, in the gardens and around the flowers are female bees, since male bees do not move out of the hive at all! By nature the male bees are lazy, they do not take any interest in the activities of the bee-hive. It is also said that they even do not know how to feed themselves! The only reason for their existence in the bee-hive is their usefulness and necessity for reproduction and once this is done they cease to exist…they become dead and the dead male bees are finally thrown out of the hive by the worker female honey bees, to keep the hive clean!
There will be only one Queen bee for a bee-hive! Contrary to the popular belief, a Queen bee is not born; it is instead made by the worker class female bees of the bee hive, by feeding a substance called ‘royal jelly’. This happens from the larvae stage itself and the potential queen bees fight it out amongst themselves until only one remains at the end. In the affairs of the bee-hive the only duty of a Queen bee is to reproduce and lay eggs. The Queen bee lays around 2000 eggs per day, which become larvae. Most of the larvae finally turn out to be female honey bees, the working class bees of the bee-hive!
It is said that honey bees are the only insects that prepare something we can relish and eat! As its name implies, honey-bee is the only insect that naturally produces honey and no other insect has this capability!
And at the end of the day, it is very heartening and sad at the same time to know that, when its time comes, a honey bee sees to it that it always dies outside of the bee-hive, thereby taking care not to pollute the bee-hive with its lifeless remains!
What a fine creature indeed!!