The social organisation of Honey bee:
A colony of honey bee shows of high-grade social organisation and division of labour.
A colony of honey bees consists of three kinds of individuals or Castes –
- In the whole colony, there is only one adult queen of large size.
- The queen arises from a fertilized egg and when larva especially fed on royal jelly.
- It is only fertile female in the beehive, having huge developed ovaries.
- The function of a queen is only of reproduction i.e it lays eggs.
Drones developed from Unfertilized eggs i.e., parthenogenetically. The function of drones is only to mate with the queen fertilize the eggs.
- They are sterile females who develop from unfertilized eggs. Their number varies from 3000 to 6000 or more.
- The worker bees are of three types:
- Sanitary bees – These bees clean the chambers of the hive.
- Nurse bees – These workers look after the queen & hive.
- On the basis of ages, they are of 3 types –
- Foster mother: They are the nurse workers of 4 to 6 days.
- They feed a mixture of honey & nectar to the infants.
- The nurse workers of 7 to 11 days.
- They secrete royal jelly which is secreted by maxillary glands.
- Nurse workers of 12 to 15 days.
- They secrete wax from the wax glands during this period of 4 days.
- This wax is used to repair & reconstruct hive.
- The wax glands get functional up to 12th day.
- They secrete propolis which is a gumlike substance.
These nurse workers are of 4 types –
- Fanning bees – They fly stationary near the nest to maintain airflow.
- Sentinel bees – They act as a guard of the nest.
- Soldier bees – They protect the hive intruders. They also check the honey collected by the bees.
- Retinue bees – They clean the queen & queen chambers. They also feed royal jelly to the queen & transfer eggs to other chambers.
4. Scout bees:
- They are also called as field or foraging bees.
- They search for new food sources & collect nectar & pollens.
- They collect food 7 to 15 times a day.
- They also collect water.
- The water requirement of a hive is to 2 litres per day.