Worker Bees

 Worker bees in one of my hives at Bluebird Gardens.

Worker bees in one of my hives at Bluebird Gardens.

Worker Bees

Of the three kinds of bees in a colony, worker bees are the most amazing to me. Nothing against the queen, or the male bees drones, but the worker bees are the ones that keep the colony going.

Besides, doing all of the hive housework, and they keep the hive very clean - the worker bees are also responsible for making key decisions for the success of the colony. It's the worker bees that decide when it's time to replace the queen. They also raise the male bees, and kick the out of the colony when they need to ration hive food supplies.

During their average six-week life, they produce 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey after visiting thousands of flowers to bring back nectar and pollen. Besides flying, worker bees flap their wings to keep air moving through the hive. When they die, they die because they have worn their wings to tatters.

Worker bees have one of the most complex languages, communicating through a dance that tells their sisters direction of pollen and nectar sources. They still can find the shortest distance between two points faster than any computer.

When observing my colonies, it's fascinating to watch how they relate to each other, and at times, to me. They do recognize me, and if I am late getting a start in the garden, I will find an entourage waiting for the sugar syrup feeders to leave the garage. They are old hummingbird feeders with slots on the bottom where bees can easily get to the sugar water.

Although I have read conflicting information, worker bees seem to work most of their lives, making them one of the hardest creatures I know.

Amazing little creatures!

Charlotte