The honey bee belongs to one of the most complex societies in nature. If it was not for honey bees it is fair to say that we may all die of starvation.
A honey bee colony may have 80,000 bees and most of them are sisters to each other. The queen bee can lay a thousand eggs a day. She is attended by her worker bee sisters. They make wax honeycomb chambers to rear the young. They collect pollen and nectar from flowers to make honey and other baby bee food such as royal jelly.
When the honey bee visits the flowers to collect nectar and pollen, they inadvertently move pollen to other flowers and pollinate them, in other words fertilise the flower. The flower will then produce a seed, and encase it in a fruit. If it was not for honey bees fruits would not form, creatures such as us would go hungry and the plant would eventually die. There is no other insect that produces such large colonies to ensure all the flowering plants in their area are pollinated.
The beehive colony is controlled by pheromones that are secreted by the queen. They signal her state of health and when she ails the workers rear new queens.
Bees dance to each other to communicate where food is doing the amazing waggle dance. They also dance the ‘figure of eight’ dance and ‘tremble dance’. Other worker bees surround and watch the dance. Each dance motion tells them where the flowers are found, how far from the beehive and what direction from the beehive they must go.
How do bees make honey? Bees make honey from nectar they collect from flowers and store it in their honey stomach. They return to the beehive and pass it by mouth to other worker bees who chew it and pass it via their mouths to other worker bees.
Bees are suffering a terrible problem at present called colony collapse syndrome CCS. This depressing scenario could cause an ecological meltdown if bees went extinct. This has actually happened in some places of the world. Scientists are working to find the cause of CCS but there may be several factors involved such as excessive use of nicotinamide pesticides that have weakened the honey bees genome. We must save the bees.
Beekeeping which is also known as apiculture is where bees are kept in beehives. Urban beekeeping has become popular.
Honey bee pictures are lovely to paint in watercolour. As you can see from my watercolour painting, it is full of different colours and textures on each of the bee’s body segments.
I have used Windsor and Newton artist quality paints. If you would like to purchase my signed limited edition print please visit shop honey bee picture.