Friday, September 22, 2017

Second Post of Questions from a class in Germany

There are two posts of these fabulous questions asked by a grade seven class in Germany.

Q. Kieran S: How do bees make Babies?
A. The bees raise their babies in the wax honeycombs.  First, the queen lays an egg in a cell.  After three days the tiny egg hatches into a larvae.  The young bees will feed this larvae a pudding-like substance called Royal Jelly that they secrete from their mouth.  After a few days the larvae are then fed a mixture of pollen and honey.  Pollen has protein which helps the larvae to grow.  After about 8 days the cell is capped off by wax producing bees.  Then the larvae changes to a pupae and after about 24 days she will hatch as a bee.

Q. Mick: How fast are bees ?
A.  Bees can fly about 24 km per hour (15 mph)

Q. Hayden: how many bees are reproduced in a year?
A. In spring a hive may have anywhere from 20,000 to 40,000.  As summer comes along the population will increase to between 60,000 to 100,000 bees.  Most of the bees will be the female workers.  About 25% of the population will be male drones.  And of course one queen per hive.

Q. Hayden : can bees reproduce with wasps or hornets?
A. No they don't cross-breed which is probably a good thing because honey bees are much more gentle and non aggressive than wasps and hornets.

Q.Alina: How many bees live in a beehive?
A. In spring there are less bees but as summer gets going the queen stays busy laying about 1,500 to 2,000 eggs per day.  In summer there are usually between 60,000 to 100,000 bees in a hive.  They need a lot of workers so they can fly out to gather nectar and pollen from flowers.

Q.Lenora P: How long is a bee's life span?
A1. A worker in summer can live about two weeks to a month.  She will wear her body out with all her hard work and then she dies.  In winter when bees only fly out to poop, they can live for several months.

Q2. What do the male bees do ?
A2. The drone has a very important job and that is to pass on his genes to future bees by mating with a queen.  Every afternoon drones will fly out of the hive and go to a congregation area where they wait for a queen.  They race each other to mate with her first.  Unfortunately the drones dies after he has mated with a queen.

Q3. What are bees eyesight like ?
A3. Their vision is quite different than ours.  They can see ultra violet colours which are mainly blue.  That's why blue and purple flowers are a bee's favourite.  (See the link in the previous post with photos of what a flower looks like to a bee).

Q4. What animals eat bees ?
A4. Skunks, shrews (like a mouse), birds, hive beetles, bears, spiders, preying mantis, wasps and hornets are some animals and insects that like to eat bees.  Bears like to eat bee larvae because it's a good source of protein for them.

Q5. What do beekeepers do ?
A5. Beekeepers check inside the hive to make sure the bees don't have disease and also to check to make sure there aren't too many varroa mites.  Varroa mites are like fleas in a hive that suck on the bee's blood and they can make the bees sick.  In late summer and fall we open the hives and remove the frames of extra honey that the bees don't need.  We keep that honey to eat or to sell.

Q. Rishi : How do bees act when they see another species of bees?
A. Most of the time bees will ignore other types of insects.  In late summer though when there's less food available other insects will try to get inside a hive to steal some honey.  The bees are diligent to protect the hive and they can grab the intruder and force them out of the hive (kind of like a body guard).

Q. Hayden: why do bees have hives other than housing?
A. Bees in hive are what we call domestic bees because they are kept by people.  There are many wild bees that live in homes that they find.  Wild bees can live in the walls of a house as long as they can find a small hole to get in.  They love to live in hollow trees, an attic, an old barrel.  They are always looking for what they think will be a good home.

Q. Joshua: Do Bee’s have any rules ( like the rules they have for pooping) ?

Q. Alex: what type of bee does the queen bee breed with?
A. The queen will leave the hive and go out to find a male called a drone to mate with.  She can mate with anywhere from six to twenty drones.  After that she never mates again and will stay in the hive and keep busy laying many eggs

Q. Joshua: Do Bee’s have any enemies? (animals)
A. Yes, skunks, raccoons, and bears love to eat bees and mice can be a problem with getting inside the hive.  A hive is a warm place with food so many insects and small animals want to go inside, if not for food, then to keep warm in cooler weather.

Q. Annabelle: Are there more male or more female bees?
A.  There are definitely more female bees called workers.  They do all the work of feeding the young, caring for the queen, processing the honey, foraging for pollen and nectar and guarding the hive.  About 25% of the population are male drones.  They will leave the hive daily to look for a queen to mate with.  Drones don't do any work or gather any food.  And, drones don't have a stinger.

Q. Annabelle: How long do bees live?
A. A bee can live a few weeks or up to about a month in summer.  Once she works outside the hive there are dangers that can injure her which will affect how long she'll live.  The workers will wear out their bodies with the hard work that they do.  In winter, they can live for many months since they only go outside then to poop.

Q. Annabelle: Which bees live longer, female or male?
A. I think the males live longer because they don't have to do all the work that the females do.  But once the drone mates with a queen he dies right away.

Q. Annabelle: How do bees decide who the Queen is?
A. The workers will choose an egg and when it hatches they will continually feed her Royal Jelly which makes her grow very quickly and develop sexual organs which makes her a queen.  The really fascinating question we have is, how do they decide what egg to pick to make a queen?  We don't know the answer.  But they must know something about it to make that choice.

Q. Annabelle: Is there also a king?
A. A hundred years ago the people thought that the large bee in the hive was the king and they called it the king bee.  Then they saw the large bee laying eggs and so they had to change that to call her a queen.  No, there is no king.

Q. Joshua: We say that bee’s make a”Buzz” Sound but what sound do they
really make?
A. They do make a buzz sound that you can hear when they're flying.  They call also make some little squeaks and the queens can make a pipping sound when they hatch.  The bees mostly communicate inside the hive with their chemical scents and also by vibrations that they make with their feet.

Q. Kieran S: how do bees drink
A.  The bees' proboscis is her tongue that she sucks up nectar with.  To drink she uses her tongue to suck up water instead.  She can also carry this water back to the hive to regurgitate to give others a drink

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