We left off yesterday with the little nurse bees feeding the larvae for six days. At that point, slightly older bees move in to cap off the larval cell so the pupae (that’s what they’re called at this point) can continue growing for 12 days into a baby bee. Those babies emerge and start cleaning cells.
Meanwhile, the nurse bees have gone on to other jobs. Up until they’re about 20 days old, they’ll be capping cells, constructing new comb, tending the queen, guarding the entrance to the hive, fanning the hive to heat or cool it as necessary, accepting nectar and pollen brought in by the forager bees, and packing it into cells, and curing the nectar into honey.
During their busy days, they also have to find the time to take orientation flights, circling the hive until they can recognize it from any angle. Gradually their flights get longer, so they can always find their way back home.
All this in three short weeks.
After that, the glands that produce wax and larval food have shriveled up, so the bees become foragers, traveling up to five miles from the hive to find nectar and pollen.
And it takes twelve bees to make one teaspoon of honey. If you’re ever lucky enough to get some Bees Knees Honey, you’d better appreciate all the work that went into it!
BEEattitude for Day # 161:
Blessed are those who do their jobs well, for their hive shall thrive.
One thing Fran is grateful for right now:
The pole bean plants that are beginning to twine up and up.