Erik Nitsche: Honey Bee
Artist: Erik Nitsche
The honeybee is among the world's oldest domestic animals. More than 3500 years ago, in the land of ancient Egypt, people enjoyed the delicious honey produced by bees ... man's first source of sweets. And these industrious insects are also treasured for many other gifts as well. They actively pollinate crops and fruit trees, and most flowers. Almond, apple, cherry and plum trees, and alfalfa, clover, pumpkin and sunflowers will not bear fruit or reproduce without the presence of bees. But to do its work, the honeybee must follow a proper life cycle. The stages it passes through are egg, larva, pupa and adult. Each colony consists of a queen bee, a few drones (males) and some 30,000 to 60,000 worker bees. The workers are females, but are unable to mate, so their eggs only hatch drones. At certain ages, the adult worker performs different tasks, from cleaning the hive, to feeding the larvae, to guarding the hive, to gathering food. When bees find a new source of food, they share the information with other workers in intricate "honey dances," which tell their peers the direction and distance to the food supply. Thus, the bees share a "social" existence which is both fascinating to observe and beneficial to all.
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