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PERFECT ACCESSORY FOR BEEKEEPERS, FARMERS, ENVIRONMENTALISTS, BURGEONING BIOLOGISTS OR THOSE WHO WILL APPRECIATE THE ELEGANCE OF THE HONEY BEE AND ITS STRUCTURES.
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Western Honey Bee - (Apis mellifera)
Species: A. mellifera
Native to Europe, Asia and Africa the western honey bee (Apis mellifera) was introduced to North America during the early 1600s. There are 28 identified subspecies of Apis mellifera divided into 4 subgroups. The average life cycle of a worker bee is between 6 weeks and 9 months.
Bees collect a rich complex sugar solution from flowers called nectar which is developed by plant glands. The western honey bees collects nectar in a second stomach then returns to the hive so that the nectar may be removed. The bee’s enzymes digest the raw nectar and spread the simplified sugars into empty honeycomb cells. The processed nectar is then dried so that it contains less than 20% water. Bees beat their 4 wings 11,400 strokes per minute. This rapid flapping of wings within the hive creates air circulation and aids in drying the honey.
Bees eat 8.4 lbs (4 kg) of honey and secrete 1 lb (500 g) of wax. There are multiple theories as to why bees generate the hexagonal shape of their wax honeycombs. Mathematician, Jan Brożek (1585-1652) suggested the hexagonal form uses the most minimal amount of material to generate a cell. Biologist and mathematician D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson (1860-1948) proposed the angular geometrical shape of the honeycomb cells are produced by bees forming their individual cell walls against one another.
Recently, wild bee population have been threatened by pests and diseases including dangerous tracheal mites as well as American foulbrood, deadly spores that form within bee larvae.
More interesting bee facts:
In 2009 scientists discovered that honey bees can distinguish face-like configurations from non-face-like arrangements. This is called ‘configural processing’.
In 2005 scientists at the National Laboratories in Los Alamos, New Mexico trained bees to use their highly sensitive vapor tuned antennas to detect dangerous explosives.