The society of bees

15 June, 2015

THE SOCIETY OF BEES

Bees are beneficial insects. Their organization is structured solely on the basis of division of labor.

Worker bees fly up to 3 km around their beehive in search of pollen and propolis (made of resin from trees) and take these substances to their beehive and place them in the cells.A group of worker bees looks after those products with zeal, with which bee larvae will be fed. These will develop into new worker bees and will make possible the survival of the beehive.

FOOD

There is a constant food circulation inside the beehive, as there are bees whose job consists of distributing the pollen collected from other bees. There also exists a chemical communication between bees. This also serves the labour and social distribution within the hive.

When there is an active queen in the beehive (laying eggs) no other queens are produced. When its egg production goes down or the queen bee dies, worker bees build royal cells (bigger than the rest of cells) where the future queen will be bred.

Bees do not not mix up their beehives because each one smells distinctively. All members of the same beehive have the same smell, because they eat food directly from the mouth of their beehive partners.

LABOUR

The hive is made up of beeswax-walled honeycombs. Wax is secreted by bees by means of glandules they have at the abdomen. The queen bee will lay an egg in each cell. When larvae hatch from eggs, will be fed with honey and pollen.

Once larvae have completed their development, they will be capped by worker bees and will remain there until they become adult bees, when they will break out of the cell wall which kept them isolated. But the function of bees is not only to collect food and attend the queen; they also clean the beehive and ventilate it by moving their winds.

MORE THAN HONEY

Bees do not only produce honey, but other products which are equally or even more valuable.

HONEY: Made of nectar gathered in their first stomach, where it is processed and partially turned into honey.
Inside the beehive, honey is found in liquid form (It granulates after being harvested). It is rich in trace elements, minerals and vitamins, representing an excellent food supplement. Among its trace elements we should mention calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc. It also contains flavonoids, widely present in plants. These compounds have the antioxidant capacity of vitamin C.

Honey is a great energy provider, as it is made of glucose and fructose , directly absorbed through the intestine, supplying energy to skeletal muscles. As sweetener, its sweetening power is one and a half times stronger than that of sucrose or sugar.

BEESWAX: It is secreted by glands located in the abdomen of bees. Honeycomb cells are made with it. These cells are the basic structure of the hive. Beeswax is used in cosmetics, pharmaceutical products, polish and handicraft products like candles.

PROPOLIS: Made up of resins collected from some trees by worker bees. It is used as natural antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal agent . It is also consumed as food supplement, as it strengthens the immune system and is a great antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agent. Its content of flavonoids contributes to improving health in those who take it as part of their diet.

ROYAL JELLY: It is a liquid that worker bees produce by mixing gland secretions. It is the only food of the queen bee for all its life. It represents a valuable source of B-vitamins and supplies big amounts of trace elements and substances that stimulate hormone production It contains unsaturated fatty acids and flavonoids, powerful antimicrobial substances that protect royal jelly from decomposition.

Among its benefits, it helps to enhance memory, has a rejuvenating effect, improves blood circulation, skin and hair. It is a great energizer, standing out for increasing men’s sexual performance.

VENOM: Apitoxin has become an alternative therapy for different conditions. Honey bee venom from Apis mellifera is an ancient remedy discovered by beekeepers when trying to relieve the permanent bee stings. They started using this substance to treat pain from other sources or heal rheumatic conditions. It is applied in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, arthrosis, fibromialgia, migraine and psoriasis.

BEE POLLEN: Bee pollen pellets are made of thousands of microscopic pollen grains rich in amino acids, lipids, vitamins, flavonoids, trace elements, minerals and fiber. It contains the eight essential amino acids for humans. The presence in bee pollen of fiber and unsaturated fatty acids helps bring down cholesterol.