How are queen bees raised and mated?

There are many methods of raising queen bees, but the central tenant of queen production is that a fertilized egg may be reared into a queen or worker depending on the food it receives as a larva. In general, a beekeeper specializing in queen production sets up special colonies (e.g., “starter” colonies) that are queenless. Young larvae are transferred, or “grafted,” from selected breeder colonies into man-made queen cell cups. The grafted larvae are placed into the starter colony where …

How do honey bees make wax?

Bees produce the beeswax used in the construction of their combs from the four pair of wax glands located on the underside of the abdomen. These glands are most highly developed and active in bees 10-18 days old. The wax appears in small, irregular oval flakes or scales that project between the overlapped portions of the last four abdominal segments. Wax can be secreted only at relatively high temperatures and after a large intake of honey or nectar. -John Skinner, …

Can a honey bee be born without the aid of a drone?

Yes and no. A drone’s (male bee) purpose is to mate with a queen (female reproductive bee). All other colony activities are performed by worker bees (female bees). To discuss how a bee is born, we can start with when the egg is laid. Generally speaking, if the queen fertilizes this egg with sperm, it will become a worker bee, or another queen. If she does not fertilize the egg, it will become a drone (male). The care and feeding …

Honey Bee Queens: Evaluating the Most Important Colony Member

Learn what you need to know to have a prolific queen and colony 

Authors: Philip A. Moore, Michael E. Wilson, John A. Skinner
Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville TN
Date: August 18, 2015

Introduction

Honey bees (Apis mellifera) are highly social insects and the colony organization is divided into separate castes that allow for division of labor and specialization in particular tasks. The honey bee queen is the sole reproductive female in …

How long do worker honey bees live?

During the active season, the lifetime of a worker is five to six weeks. Overwintering worker bees may, however, live for four to six months. Whatever their life span, worker bees usually confine themselves to one task at a time, working without pause. If they are field bees, they may be scouts or collectors. Scouts look for sources of nectar and pollen. Once suitable sources are located, the scouts recruit additional foragers.
Nectar collectors, pollen foragers, water gatherers or propolis …

I am doing honeybee studies and need to dissect out the hypopharyngeal glands, salivary glands, and if possible the corporum allatum. Is there a detailed protocol (preferrably with images) of how to dissect these structures?

Well, you are not likely to find written instructions for these dissections. However, excellent digrams or plates of the salivary and hypopharyngeal glands can be found in Anatomy and Dissection of the Honeybee by H.A. Dade (publisher: International Bee Research Association; ISBN: 0900149981). Also, Zachary Huang at Michigan State University has photographs of some of these glands on his bee anatomy page.
The corpora allata are much tougher to dissect and locate. Let’s start with the salivary and hypopharyngeal …

What is “Bee Space” and why is this important to beekeeping?

Traditional hive parts are made from wood. The design and dimension of hive parts are based on the concept of bee space. Bee space was first recognized and promoted by the Philadelphia minister Lorenzo Langstroth in 1851, when he introduced what is commonly known as the Langstroth hive. He discovered that bees build excess comb in a space larger than 3/8 inch. Bees will fill any space less than 1/4 inch with propolis. Therefore, a space between 3/8 inch and …

How many times does a queen honey bee mate?

A queen mates during the first 1-2 weeks of her adult life. She can take multiple mating flights and mated with several males – on average 12-15. Increasing the genetic diversity of the colony is important for colony productivity and disease resistance.
– Christina Grozinger, Pennsylvania State University…

How do honey bees use pheromones to communicate?

Bees use chemical cues to interact with each other and to manage colony organization. Alarm pheromone is used to recruit bees to defend the colony, while Nasanov pheromone is used for aggregation (during swarming or if bees are displaced from the colony). The forager bees produce a pheromone which slows the behavioral maturation of young bees so that they remain in the nursing state longer – this allows the colony to adjust the worker force to have the optimal number …