Busy Bees Working Hard at The Conservatory

In News by Kaite Cote

Behind thick glass in our Observation Hive, honey bees can be seen working around the clock. 

Visitors are able to observe all of their activities at anytime during their visit, and these insects really are amazing creatures to watch. You can see the colony structure and organization, the different duties the honey bees take on within the hive and witness comb building, honey production and storage.

A typical honey bee hive consists of one queen, thousands of worker females, and depending on the time of year, a couple hundred male drones. The worker females are the ones gathering pollen and nectar, while the male drones primary role is to mate with an unfertilized queen. 

If you look closely you’ll be able to identify our queen bee, as she has a green dot located on her which was placed there by the beekeeper, showing she was born in 2019.

Whereas the queen can live for several years, the average life of a single worker female is 2 months. She performs several duties (cleaning, nursing, fanning, guarding, etc.) inside the hive for the first part of her life, and then becomes a forager when she is about 1 month old. When the time comes to switch to foraging, the honey bee’s brain will change and they’ll begin seeking pollen, nectar, and water outside of the hive. 

Once a forager has success, they will communicate and share this information by doing what scientists call the Waggle dance. This is a figure-eight style dance that communicates the direction and distance to these optimal areas. 

Learn more about the unique ways in which insects communicate >