Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Snooping Around...Bees

Tireless Workers and Exquisite Chemists

In my personal thought, bees are the most curious insects on the planet. Think you know everything about them! Join me while I'm spying their wonderful world to find out all the unknowns hidden in a drop of honey. Let's start!

First of all: how do bees make honey? raw material for the production of honey are sugary substances found in nature: flower nectar or honeydew, a secretion produced by insects that feed on plants sap. These are collected by honeybees, stored in an inner sac. Returning to honeycomb, bees pass the load to workers and the nectar is transferred from one bee to another. Each step is enriched with the secretions of the mouth, rich in enzymes. The workers lay the drop into a cell and, using their wings, they evaporate the water excess. After a few days, the ripe honey is ready!

Counter attack
The sting of bees is an excellent weapon against the attacks of other insects! But when they bite animals with soft tissues (such as humans) the structure of the sting get stuck. As a result the bee cannot move and if is forced to move (like when we driven it off), the hit guts the abdomen of the insects, resulting in death.

Honey webMale or Female?
The bee's sex is determined by measuring the cell where the Queen Bee lays the egg. The bees build "to female" (smaller) or "to male" cells (larger). When the Queen Bee lays the egg is stimulated to depose a fertilized egg with a sperm cell into smaller cells (in which a female will be born) and a single egg, without sperm, in larger cells (in which a male will be born).

If the hive is not satisfied enough of their Queen Bee (idle for age or temperament), tries to replace it.
It can be done choosing a cell in which the Queen Bee layed a fertilized egg and using it to create a royal cell large enough to accommodate a new Queen Bee. Then all the bees begin to feed the larva exclusively with royal jelly. When the new Queen is about to be born, the workers kill the old Queen. Of course, the old Queen is not enthusiastic about the thing,so destroys all cells located in the hive as soon as discovered. The war between bees and Queen can take up quite a bit of time, but sooner or later the workers always manage to kill the boss!

Be ambitious!
Bees cannot live without working!If there are too many, so if the hive is full, they instinctively breed a new Queen and, as soon as this is going to be born, half of the bees build a new beehive!

Obsessed with cleaning 
The bees take much to clean their house. The hive is always very clean and tidy, especially inside the cells. This is possible thanks to the work of some bees called "Cleaner Bees" who have the specific task of keeping clean combs, ensuring the order. This particular species of bees use a special substance, the "propolis" (extracted from buds and barks), to disinfect cells and hermetically isolate all that fail to take off as the remains of dead bees in the hive.

The importance of honeybees
Just how important are honeybees to the human diet? Typically, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, these under-appreciated workers pollinate 80 percent of our flowering crops which constitute 1/3 of everything we eat. Losing them could affect not only dietary staples such as apples, broccoli, strawberries, nuts, asparagus, blueberries and cucumbers, but may threaten our beef and dairy industries if alfalfa is not available for feed.Essentially, if honeybees disappear, they could take most of our insect pollinated plants with them, potentially reducing mankind to little more than a water diet. And without the pollination of flowers, we would have to say goodbye to all beautiful flowers on Earth.
Moreover, it has been discovered that bee venom has  been found to have medicinal properties, used for treating arthritis, multiple sclerosis and even fibromyalgia, and more recently to treat sexual dysfunction, cancer, epilepsy and depression.
Knowing that, I don't think bees are completely useless, do you?

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