Friday, October 1, 2010

The Nurse Bee

I especially love nurse bees. They are most often newly hatched bees. A newly hatched baby bee will have lots of soft golden fur.

They spend most of their time working inside the hive as a house bee.

Nurses take care of their baby sister and brother larvae. Bees have four stages in their life cycle: Egg, Larva (worm); Pupa, and Bee.

Have you ever had to babysit or take care of your brothers and sisters? If so, then you know what it's like to be a nurse bee.

Nurses take care of the eggs and larva. They feed young larva a pudding-like food called royal jelly and they feed older larvae a mixture of pollen and honey, called bee bread.

[Click on the picture above to enlarge. Then look closely at the cells that aren't capped. Can you see the tiny white larvae curled up inside? Those are the babies that the nurses are taking care of].

They also keep the babies warm. The workers will shiver their wing muscles which generates heat and they will cluster in a mass on top of the honeycombs where the babies are, sharing their body heat.

[Click to enlarge this photo - look carefully at the cells in the middle of the photo. Can you see the tiny rice-like eggs? They will hatch in three days.]

Bees really love their babies and they do everything they can to protect and take care of them.

Nurse bees really are devoted caregivers.

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