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The World of Bees

The world of bees is exciting, amazing, and rich in secrets and marvelous wonders that testifie to the Omnipotence of the Great Creator Who created this wonderful world. Allaah made the

world of bees an example of cooperation, discipline, and perfection. Scientists have managed to discover some secrets of this strange world, but there are still so many hidden and unknown facts.

Let's have a look at some of these secrets.

  • A Thorough Look at the Body of a Bee

Like other insects, the body of the bee consists of three parts:

  • the head.

  • the chest.

  • the abdomen.

- Head

It is in the forefront of the bee’s body. In its head, the bee has two types of eyes. The first type is called compound eyes. They are two eyes on the side of the head. They consist of thousands of interconnected lens used by the bee to see over large distances when it is outside the hive. The bee also uses the eyes to see ultraviolet light which can not be detected by man's naked eyes. This is a great advantage that enables the bee to see some types of flowers which can only be seen through ultraviolet light.

The other type is the simple eyes. They are three in number and are on the top part of its head. The bee uses them to see over short distances. Its sense of seeing is very powerful. The bee can recognize all colors except for the color red. In the forepart of its head, there are two antennas used by the bee for sensing and tasting things. The bee has a mouth with a strong jaw for chewing. Its tongue has a spoon-like tip which the bee uses to suck the nectar of flowers.

- Chest

It has four thin wings; two on each side. When the bee flies, it has a distinctive sound called a ‘buzz’. The bee can fan its wings very quickly; up to four hundred times per second. Under the wings, there are six feet; three on each side of the chest.

- Abdomen

It contains some of the most important parts of the bee such as the honey craw or honey sac which is considered an additional stomach in which the bee stores the nectar it sucks from flowers with its tongue. In this rear part are some glands that make the wax required for building the hive. At the end of the abdomen, there is a sharp, piercing sting that the bee uses to protect itself and the hive against enemies.

  • The Bee Society Is One Family

Bees live in huge swarms or colonies with a total number ranging between 50,000 and 60,000 bees. Sometimes, the total number of bees in a single hive may even reach 80,000. Each colony builds a house for living called a nest. The bees may build their nests on mountains or trees or they may live in man-made hives.

Allaah said (what means): "And your Lord inspired the bee, saying: `Take you habitations in the mountains and in the trees and in what they erect`." [Quran, 16:68]

  • A colony of bees consists of three classes:

(1) the queen bee

(2) hundreds of males


(3) thousands of females called workers.

All members of the hive live according to a precise system shadowed by feelings of love and cooperation. Every member does their assigned job tirelessly.

-The Queen Bee

The queen is the most important bee in the hive. The main job of the queen is to lay eggs which finally produce all the bees of the hive. The queen is the mother of all bees; males or females. The queen lays about 1,500 eggs a day and sometimes this number may reach 2,500. The queen lays the eggs in special wax cells made by the workers. When the honey season comes to an end, the number of eggs laid by the queen gradually decreases. Scientists estimate that the total number of eggs laid by the queen throughout her lifetime to be about one million. The queen lives long; about 5 or 6 years.

- The Males (the drones)

The male bees do not have any job in the hive except for fertilizing the queen in the reproduction season. The males do not have the ability to perform the jobs that the female workers do. The males have short tongues that cannot suck nectar. Their legs do not have the baskets, or corbicula in which pollen is carried from plants. Besides, their bodies do not have the glands required for making the wax used in building the nest, neither do they have the piercing sting for defending themselves and their hive. Thus, the males are neither suitable for building the nest nor defending the hive. Even in their food, they rely on the nectar gathered by the workers. Despite this, the role played by the males in mating with the queen is vital for the survival of the whole hive. If it did not happen, there would be no queens, males, or workers.

- Workers

Bee workers only live for 6 weeks, which they spend in continuous labor. They spend the first three weeks working inside the hive. Some of them are involved in defending the entrances of the hive against enemies. Some ventilate the hive by quickly fanning their wings all the time, which helps in cooling the hive in hot weather. Some others clean the hive by collecting wastes and throwing them outside the hive. Still others fix the external parts of the hive by sealing the cracks in its walls which may allow entry for enemies or drops of rain. Some workers build hexadecimal wax cells in order to store honey or they might be used for nurturing the young bees. Some workers care for the eggs and care for the young bees until they grow. By the age of 21 days, the workers would have completed all their assigned tasks inside the hive and would then be ready for other significant tasks outside.

  • How Workers Make Honey

The workers spend the rest of their life, the following three weeks, in gathering nectar and pollen from flowers. All day long, they search for suitable flowers. Once found, the workers land on them and put their tongue in the middle part of the flower to reach the nectar and then they immediately suck it. The nectar itself is very sweet in taste and when the workers suck it, it passes through a tube to the abdomen or the honey sac. In the honey sac, the nectar is converted into tasty honey. When the workers return to their hives, they produce the honey out of their mouths and store it in special wax cells. Then, the workers return to gather nectar again. The bee could visit 10,000 flowers a day. Despite this, the nectar it gathers throughout its whole life is only sufficient to make 45 grams of honey.

  • Pollen

In addition to gathering nectar, the workers also gather pollen. When some grains stick to the feet and body of the bee while gathering the nectar, it gathers these grains by using special hair combs on its feet. Then, it puts the grains in the pollen sacs on its rear feet. When the bee reaches the hive, it empties these grains into wax cells after kneading them in its mouth by adding honey and juicy liquids to them so as to make a delicious food used by the workers in feeding the young bees.

  • The Bee Hive

Bees are the most gifted creatures in terms of abilities and skills that enable them to build a splendid house. The body of the workers has special glands that convert some of the honey they eat into wax. Then, the workers discharge the honey out through eight holes in the lower part of their bodies. The workers put the wax in their mouths to wet it and thus make it easy to build the cells.

The workers build hexadecimal cells with their polygons magnificently bounded with no empty slots in between. Scientists discovered that hexadecimal cells

are stronger than square cells and they allow for the largest number of possible cells with the minimum amount of wax being used.

  • Taking Care of the Young

Each bee, be it a queen, male, or worker, passes through four phases to become a fully grown bee. After the queen lays the eggs in their special wax cells, the workers in charge start watching them closely. Three days later, the eggs hatch and become larvae. The larvae are fed on royal jelly for the following two days, and then on pollen and nectar or honey. Then the larvae develop into pupae which, in turn, develop into fully-grown bees. The development of the queen from egg to adult requires 16 days, that of the worker 21 days, and that of the drone 24 days.

  • The Benefits of Honey

Bees provide many benefits to man. They contribute to increasing the harvest of fruit. When the bees move from one tree to another searching for nectar, they carry pollen from tree to tree. This process is called pollination. It is an important process for the full ripening of fruit. Man also makes use of honey which contains lots and lots of minerals, vitamins, saccharine, and other significant components for the human body. Allaah made honey a means for curing a large number of diseases. Besides, scientific research proved that the bee venom which comes out of its sting is very effective in curing many diseases. In addition, bee wax is also significant in making special types of waxes, colors, paints, and medical compounds. Allaah said in His Book:

"Then, eat of all fruits, and follow the ways of your Lord made easy (for you)." There comes forth from their bellies, a drink of varying color wherein is healing for men. Verily, in this is indeed a sign for people who think." [Quran, 16:69]

  • Information and Unique Facts About Bees

  • The total number of bee species is 20,000. Most species are not socially-inclined except for honey bees which live in large, organized colonies.

  • The queen is the only bee in the hive which mates with males. It mates with only one male. She is also the only bee that lays eggs.

  • The largest species of honey bee is 20 mm. long and it is called the giant bee. The smallest species is called the dwarf bee which is one mm. long.

  • The honey bees can differentiate between sweet, sour, salty, and bitter tastes.

  • The bees have a special means of communication which is made through dancing.

  • The queen's length is double that of the worker.

  • The queen lays two types of eggs: fertilized eggs which develop into female honey bees, either workers or queens, and unfertilized eggs which develop into male honey bees, or drones.

  • The sense of smell in bees is mainly concentrated in their antennas which have a tremendous number of pores that may reach about 500,000.

  • A bee can fly at a speed of 65 kilometers per hour.

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