Honey Bee (Apis mellifera)
The Honey Bee is a species in the order Hymenoptera, family Apidae. In the temperate zone, honey bees survive winter as a colony, and the queen begins egg laying in mid to late winter, to prepare for spring. This is most likely triggered by longer day length. She is the only fertile female, and deposits all the eggs from which the other bees are produced. Except a brief mating period when she may make several flights to mate with drones, or if she leaves in later life with a swarm to establish a new colony, the queen rarely leaves the hive after the larvae have become full grown bees. The queen deposits each egg in a cell prepared by the worker bees. The egg hatches into a small larva which is fed by nurse bees (worker bees who maintain the interior of the colony). After about a week, the larva is sealed up in its cell by the nurse bees and begins the pupal stage. After another week, it will emerge an adult bee.
* Human encroachment into or adjacent to natural areas where African bush elephants occur has led to recent research into methods of safely driving groups of elephants away from humans, including the discovery that playback of the recorded sounds of angry Apis mellifera colonies are remarkably effective at prompting elephants to flee an area.
* They have a well developed sense of time (circadian rhythm). Honey bees are one of the very few invertebrates in which sleep-like behavior, similar in many respects to mammalian sleep, is known to exist.
* Honey, as well as propolis, has antibiotic properties. Honey is so sweet that bacteria cannot grow on it, and dry enough that it does not support yeasts. Anaerobic bacteria may be present and survive in spore form in honey, however, as well as anywhere else in common environments. Honey (or any other sweetener) which is diluted by the non-acidic digestive fluids of infants, can support the transition of botulism bacteria from the spore form to the actively growing form which produces a toxin. When infants are weaned to solid foods, their digestive system becomes acidic enough to prevent such growth and poisoning. No sweeteners should be given to infants prior to weaning.
* Honey bees are one of the very few invertebrates that produce a sort of "milk" for their young, royal jelly, which is the only food the larvae will eat early in development.
* Like other social insects, they have an advanced immune system.
* They have specially modified hairs on their body that develop a static electricity charge to attract pollen grains to their bodies.
* Honey bee foragers die usually when their wings are worn out after approximately 500 miles (800 km) of flight.
* Honey bee wings beat at a constant rate of 230 beats per second or 13,800 beats/minute. The frequency of the wing beats was much higher than expected for an insect of this size. Honey bees make up for carrying heavier loads or for changes in air density by altering the amplitude of their wings and catching more air. This makes the wing muscles work harder, but it does not change the frequency of the wing beats.
* Bees are capable of perceiving the polarization of light. They use this information to orient their communicative dances.
* They navigate by using a combination of memory, visual landmarks, colors, the position of the sun, smell, polarized light and magnetic anomalies.
* Their aging is controlled by a hormone which regulates the production of a protein called vitellogenin.
* Bee stings have also been reputed to help alleviate the associated symptoms of Multiple sclerosis, arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.
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