Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bees are Born Twice

I guess you could say they get born and then they get born again.

How on earth do they do that? It's simple really. First the queen lays an egg in the bottom of a honey comb cell. After three days the egg hatches and a teeny tiny larva is born. So that's the first birth.

The larva is really small for a few days but nurse bees will come along many times each day and add a white pudding-like food to the bottom of their cell. That food is called royal jelly and it makes the larva grow very big very quickly.

Soon the little white larvae will grow quite chubby and the nurse bees will feed it honey and pollen. At first the larvae will curl up in the bottom of their cells but soon they'll get so big that there's no more room to grow.

After about 9 days the worker larvae will know it's time for a big metamorphosis--a big change. The bees will come and put a cap on the larva's cell and then the larva will spin a cocoon. After it spins the cocoon it will pupate.

Then a few more days will go by. On the 21st day after being born the first time the pupae bee will be born the second time when it chews the cap off its cell and hatches as a baby bee.
(Click on the picture at left to see a closeup of the baby larva bees).

The baby bee will have a nice big meal of honey and then it'll be time to get to work, cleaning her cell and then helping out in the hive.

If she's lucky she might live for about a month. During her lifetime she'll care for her brothers and sisters, help take care of the queen and then one day work outside the hive gathering. In her whole life she'll produce about 1/12th a teaspoon of honey.

Can you picture how much honey is a 1/12th of a teaspoon?


Emma Michaels said...

Wow, I had no idea. Very informative post. Love your ideas and have been following but you continue to impress me. Who knows maybe I could grow to love bees too! Great job!

Bee Magic Chronicles for Kids said...

Thanks Emma. I'd always wanted to get into beekeeping and when I started researching I just got completely hooked with this amazing little insect.

Izzy's Mummy said...

Thanks Emma, my 4 year old is much happier now that you have been able to answer her question about how bees are born. Excellent article,thank you.

Bridget said...