The Tedious Honey Bees

Man is using the animal products since time immemorial. Honey is one such animal product used by mankind since histories. The diverse qualities of honey have been mentioned in the literature as well as by many eminent workers. Honey is obtained from the tiny, teeny weeny honey bees. Bees teach us the lesson of work, work and work with cooperation. It is fascinating to think that for only one pound of honey the bee travels about twice the distance of earth’s circumference and pollinate twelve thousand flowers a day.

Honey bees belong to the class Insecta and order Hymenoptera. They are scientifically termed as Apis. Honey bees are highly organized social insects with well developed division of labour. They are active throughout the year but in winter do little work. In spring season, they build strong colony having honey rich combs that can be easily seen hanging down from the branches of trees, ceilings of houses etc. they communicate with each other by performing waggle dance as described by the eminent biologist Karl Von Frish.

Each honey bee colony bears forty to fifty thousand individuals encompassing three castes: Queen, drones and workers. The queen after fertilization lays both fertilized as well as unfertilized eggs. The unfertilized eggs develop into drones and the fertilized egg develops into a queen when fed on royal jelly and the larvae not fed on royal jelly develop into workers.

The Queen is a well developed fertile female with immensely developed ovaries and is present in each hive in a single number. She is the mother in the real sense and is guarded by a number of attendants and her sole function is to lay eggs only. It measures 15-20 mm in length and can be recognized by long tapering abdomen, short legs and wings. She is not able to produce honey and wax. She bears an ovipositor for egg laying and lays 1,500 to 2,000 eggs per day. The queen mates only once in her life span and stores the sperms of drone in her spermatheca. The life span of the queen is about five years and she lays about 1,500,000 eggs. She feeds on royal jelly throughout her life. When a queen becomes old or she dies a new queen is given all the responsibilities of the colony. A new queen is formed when a worker is fed on royal jelly. A queen takes 18 days to develop from egg to adult.

Workers are the smallest of the three castes of the colony and are actually the real machinery for the proper functioning of the colony. They also develop from the fertilized egg laid by the queen in the worker cell. They take 21 days to develop from egg to adult. their whole life span is about six weeks. The workers are sterile females that sacrifice their lives for the well being of the colony. The outdoor and indoor duties are performed by them only and for this they have some specially modified body parts: long proboscis for sucking nectar, strong wings for fanning, pollen basket for collection of pollen, powerful sting to defend the colony from the predators, wax glands for wax secretion. The bees that look after the young ones and the queen are termed as nursery bees, those who work for building and repairing of the comb are termed as builders and repairers. Honey storage and the ripening is also done by the workers.

The male members of the colony are termed as Drone of the King. They develop from the unfertilized eggs and take 24 days to develop into adult from the eggs. They lack wax glands and sting but have well developed reproductive organs. Their sole function is to fertilize the queen and are often seen begging the workers for the food. they live in special chambers called drone cells. A drone dies after copulation.

The first swarm is led by the old queen and the second swarm is led by the seven days old virgin queen which is followed by a number of drones is termed as marriage flight or nuptial flight. Only one male copulates with the queen and dies and drops to the ground. The fertilized queen then returns to the colony and starts laying eggs. She lays one egg in each cell. The eggs are pinkish, elongated and are attached to the bottom of the cell. The larvae after emergence are fed for five days by the worker bees and then the cell is sealed for pupation. After three weeks adults emerge out, in the form of workers and are sent for outdoor duties. Only one larva develops into queen that is fed on royal jelly. The drones develop from unfertilized eggs.

Honey is sweet in taste and its color varies from white to black with variable smell. The nectar, pollen and cane sugar are mixed by the saliva of the honey bees and undergo enzymatic action and is collected in the honey sac until it reaches the hive. As the bee reaches the hive this compound is regurgitated in the hive and is called the honey and is now concentrated by a strong current of air by rapid beating of the wings. Chemically honey is made up of levulose, dextrose, maltose, pigments, enzymes, ash and water. honey has both medicinal as well as the food value.

Honey bees are also the good source of bees wax. It is yellowish grey in color, insoluble in water but completely soluble in alcohols and ethers. it is natural secretion of worker bees poured out in thin delicate scales and is a complex mixture of hydrocarbons. It has a good commercial value. Honey bees and honey both are of good commercial value. The bee keeping and rearing for commercial production is termed as apiculture. This practice has been developed in many countries all over the world.

Navodita Maurice

Farmers Shift Towards Virtually Non-Toxic Alternatives for Pest Control

2015 February 2

Jim Jones

February 2, 2015
11:17 am EDT

When you’ve had mosquitos in your yard, you might have lit a citronella candle, or you might have used some garlic oil to reduce the number of aphids in your garden. At some point we’ve all done something to reduce the number of pests in our environment. When their populations get out of control they can spread and cause disease, and destroy farmers’ crops.

There’s a whole range of what we call biological pesticides, or “biopesticides,” that are made of naturally occurring substances derived from animals, plants, bacteria, fungi and minerals – like citronella, garlic oil and acetic acid. The great news about biopesticides is that they are virtually non-toxic to people and the environment. They usually target specific pests, reducing risks to beneficial insects, birds and mammals. Even better, they’re becoming more common – and that means that safer alternatives to control pests are becoming more widely available.

Biopesticides have long been used in organic farming, but their use in conventional farming is growing now as well. We created a new division focused on raising the profile of biopesticides and helping them to get licensed. Our Biopesticides Division has registered about 150 biological active ingredients and, in partnership with the USDA, awarded over 70 grants across the country to research biopesticides for specialty and minor crops. Our more efficient registration process for biopesticides helps keep up with demand. We’re helping agriculture to shift towards biopesticides, and minimizing risks to people and the environment.

The use of biopesticides in U.S. agriculture has more than quadrupled lately, going from 900,000 pounds of active ingredient applied in 2000 to 4.1 million pounds in 2012, the most recent year for which we have data. Nearly 18 million acres are being treated with biopesticides, producing crops that are better for people’s health and the planet. Many farmers use them as part of their Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs so they can rely less on higher-risk pesticides and effectively produce higher crop yields and quality with lower impact on the environment.

I’m thrilled to see a significant and steady increase in the registration of new biopesticide products as well as demand from farmers, growers, retailers and consumers. We have long been committed to encouraging the development and use of low-risk biopesticides as alternatives to conventional chemical pesticides, and our commitment and efforts will continue over time.

For more about our efforts with pesticides, visit:

Editor’s Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone’s rights or obligations.

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The Carniolan Honey Bees

The Carniolan bees (Apis mellifera carnica), which are also called as carniolans. The English term for these bees is ‘carnies’ which at this moment is the second most popular honey bee among beekeepers after the well known Italian bee. This bee is native to Slovenia (Carniola is a place in Slovenia) including to some other regions like southern Austria, parts of Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria and some areas of the former Yugoslavia.

The carniolans possesses a lot of benefits and superiority compared to other bees, hence they are most favored among beekeepers. They are known as gentle and non-aggressive bees which make the beekeepers feel save while working with them. They can also be kept in populated areas with less bees drifting from one hive to another beehive. Unlike the Italian bees, Carniolan bees are less prone to rob honey.

The Carniolan bees are also known to be very proficient in adjusting their worker bee population to the availability of nectar. They are able to make the adjustment very swiftly. As soon as they detect the increasing availability of nectar in springtime they multiply their worker bee population and with the same speed they can swiftly cut of their offspring production when nectar availability is decreasing. With such speedy increase of worker bees, their ability to collect large amount of honey will be very beneficial to the beekeeper.

Another benefit is that these bees are quite resistant to brood diseases which in the case of other bees could easily spread and weaken hives of other bee subspecies. A Carniolan worker bee has a longer lifespan of about 12% compared to other bees. In terms of hive management, the beekeeper needs only a small amount of propolis to seal the unwanted open spaces or small gaps in the hives.

Carniolans are more suitable for areas with long winters, where they can survive in smaller number of worker bees while keeping their honey storage at its maximum. They are also very useful in areas with strong nectar flows. They will look for honey early in the morning or late evening when the days are wet and cool.

In spite of their benefits, Carniolans possess also some disadvantages, which include their proneness to swarming when overcrowded, less ability to thrive during hot summer weather, their broodnest strength depends on pollen availability and the fact that it isn’t easy to find the carniolan dark queen bee among thousands of other worker bees.

Carniolans are about the similar size of the Western European bees but with a slimmer abdomen. They can also be distinguished by their hairy grayish brown colored stripes hence they are also called as the gray bees. The long tongue of the Carniolans (which ranges 6.5 – 6.7 mm) makes it suitable to seek nectar from cloves. They also have very short hair and a very high elbow join.

Uno Birawan is a writer and wrote a lot about beekeeping. You can find more information on a Carniolan honey bees and others or visit his site to find more valuable information on beekeeping

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