Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bees Have Pockets

What? Yes, it's true.

A worker bee has 8 pockets on her abdomen. You may be wondering why a honey bee has pockets.

There's a very good reason.

[Photo -can you see that bee's stomach and the little bits of white sticking out of her pockets? Those are wax scales.]

During part of a worker bee's life she will help her hive by building and repairing honeycombs. She'll use beeswax to build these combs.

Have you ever wondered where the wax comes from? It comes from the bees.
Her body will produce the wax and it will secrete from glands on her abdomen into these 8 little pockets.

It comes out as a clear liquid but once it cools the wax looks like tiny clear fish scales.

The worker will then use her foot to grab a wax scale and put it to her mouth. Then she chews it up to make it soft and then she shapes it into honeycombs.
She makes it all look so very easy. The combs are very delicate but strong as well and make the perfect container for nature's sweetest gift.

Honeycombs are used by the bees to store their pollen and nectar as well as to raise their babies.

Honeycombs filled with honey can be eaten right off the spoon. The wax can be eaten too. The beeswax is also used to make sweet smelling candles, furniture polish, lip balms, and foot balms.

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