How do bees reproduce?

Honey bee reproduction

There are more than twenty thousand species of bees in the world, but the type that produces honey constitutes less than 4% of that, or less than 800 species, and the most famous of them is the common honey bee known scientifically as (Apis mellifera), while living Many bees are isolated or solitary, but the percentage of species that live in groups is less than 8% of the total number of bees in the world, and despite the presence of differences between these species in the way of living, most of them share a similar mechanism of mating, as In the world of bees, the only male job is to mate with the female.

The honey bee community consists of three types of adult bees: the queen, female workers, and males, and the queen is the only sexually mature female in the beehive, so reproduction and laying eggs are the primary function for her, as the queen flies after seven days after leaving her cell away About the kingdom of bees, during which they mate with 7-15 males that she attracts to her through pheromones.

When mating, the male bee brings out the male organ, and enters it into the queen’s stinging chamber, excreting the sperm, and this process leads to the separation of the male organ from the male’s body, which leads to his death. At the end of her mating with males, the queen bee collects approximately 100 million sperm, This provides genetic diversity between the resulting individuals, as each fertilized egg differs slightly in its genetic characteristics from the other egg, and this in turn gives the bee kingdom a greater chance of success.

The queen bee uses part of the sperms it collected to fertilize the eggs directly, while storing between 5-6 million sperm in good conditions for the next four years, and when its sperm stock runs out, the kingdom begins to raise a new queen, and it is worth noting that male bees do not They usually mate with the queen of their cell, so they fly to areas known as congregational areas to search for other queens. Scientists believe that males define their congregation areas in response to a magnetic force that forms in their stomachs after 6 days of birth, and leads them to specific places. The males focus only on what is in these areas so much that they will ignore any queen that flies outside the boundaries of this area.

The mechanism of determining the sex of honey bees

After mating with males, the queen bee lays two types of eggs: unfertilized eggs that produce male bees, and fertilized eggs that result in females that will later grow to become a queen or a worker according to the food they receive during the larva stage, which is provided to the larvae that will result. The queen is given an ample amount of royal jelly throughout her feeding period, while the larva, which will develop into a worker, is given a small amount of royal jelly during the first three days only, and then a mixture of royal jelly, honey, and pollen is provided in the following days.

Honey bee growth stages

During its life, honey bees go through the following four phases:

Egg: The honey bee queen usually lays one egg in each cell, and the egg takes a shape similar to a small grain of rice, and it is straight at first, then begins to bend, and on the third day it hatches and the larva emerges from it.

Larva: The honeybee larva is shiny white, and takes the shape of the letter (C), and the adult workers provide food for the larvae until it is time to cover the cells with wax, which happens about 5 and a half days after the birth of the larva if it is raised to become a worker, and 6 days if it is It is raised to become a queen, and 6 and a half days if it is reared to become a male, after which the larva expands lengthwise inside the cell, and begins to spin the cocoon.

Pupae or pupa: The larva enters the pupa stage, then the characteristics of an adult bee appear. The compound eyes initially change color from white to brownish-purple, then the color of the entire body changes.

Adult bee: The adult bee comes out of the covered hive after 12 days if it is a worker bee, 7 and a half days if it is a queen, and 14 and a half days if it is a male.

Lone bee breeding

Building bees (in English: mason bees) is one of the examples of bees that live alone, as each female builds a nest of her own, and in this type of bee, the males leave the cells during the spring, two or three days before the females, or more, according to As soon as the female comes out, mating occurs directly, and after several days of mating, the female begins to build a nest to lay eggs, and provides it with food that consists of a mixture of pollen and nectar, as this food is known as bee bread, and it is the size of a grain The pea, and the queen lays one egg in the center of each cell, and builds a mud wall around it to protect it.

The bee egg hatches within about a week, and a larva emerges from it, which begins within a month or more by consuming the pollen, then begins spinning the cocoon, and then enters the pupal stage, and at the end of the summer it turns into an adult bee, and remains inside the nest during the winter, and when the spring begins the bee comes out From the cocoon and the mud wall, it is worth noting that the adult bee of this species dies at the end of the nesting season.

Social Bee Breeding

The mechanisms of social mating and reproduction of bees differ from one species to another, including:

Bumblebees: Male bumblebees behave aggressively during mating with the queen, as the male drops the queen to the ground, climbs on her chest, and then mating takes place.

Carpenter bees: Carpenter bees mate in the air in flight, and the mating ritual begins with a wobbling dance, usually 12 males and 3-4 females participate in the dance.

Sweat bees: Sweat bees mate in a similar way to honeybees, with some differences, including that female sweat bees do not fly mating; Because they mate and lay eggs when needed to ensure the survival of the kingdom, and a male of this species may mate with a female who has previously mated.

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