Sunday, March 22, 2009

Nurse Bees Tend to the Brood

As we examine a bee hive at this time of year we are looking for a rapidly growing colony. If all is well, we have a queen laying a large number of eggs in a tight pattern in the center of the hive. As the developing brood makes the change, a metamorphosis, from egg to larva to pupa to adult, it is cared for by young workers called nurse bees. These bees produce the food, “bee bread,” and feed it to the rapidly growing larvae. They also regulate the temperature of the brood, maintaining the brood nest at 95 degrees Fahrenheit. As we see on this frame from the brood nest, the brood is almost always covered by the tightly clustered bodies of the nurse bees. This colony is growing nicely. It is on schedule to produce a large population of bees to take advantage of the abundance of flowers in the spring and summer.

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