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Honey Bee Facts (蜜蜂小百科)

 
 


Honey Bee Facts

Why do bees make honey?
We know that bees have been producing honey as they do today for at least 100 million years (since the Cretaceous period)*. Bees produce honey as food stores for the hive during the long months of winter when flowers aren't blooming and therefore little or no nectar is available to them.

European honey bees, genus Apis Mellifera, produce such an abundance of honey, far more than the hive can eat, that humans can harvest the excess. For this reason, European honey bees can be found in beekeeper's hives around the world!

The Colony
Honey bees are social insects, with a marked division of labor between the various types of bees in the colony. A colony of honey bees includes a queen, drones and workers.

The Queen

The queen is the only sexually developed female in the hive. She is the largest bee in the colony.

A two-day-old larva is selected by the workers to be reared as the queen. She will emerge from her cell 11 days later to mate in flight with approximately 18 drone (male) bees. During this mating, she receives several million sperm cells, which last her entire life span of nearly two years.

The queen starts to lay eggs about 10 days after mating. A productive queen can lay 3,000 eggs in a single day.


The Drones

Drones are stout male bees that have no stingers. Drones do not collect food or pollen from flowers. Their sole purpose is to mate with the queen. If the colony is short on food, drones are often kicked out of the hive.

The Workers

Workers, the smallest bees in the colony, are sexually undeveloped females. A colony can have 50,000 to 60,000 workers.The life span of a worker bee varies according to the time of year. Her life expectancy is approximately 28 to 35 days. Workers that are reared in September and October, however, can live through the winter.

Workers feed the queen and larvae, guard the hive entrance and help to keep the hive cool by fanning their wings. Worker bees also collect nectar to make honey. In addition, honey bees produce wax comb. The comb is composed of hexagonal cells which have walls that are only 2/1000 inch thick, but support 25 times their own weight.

Honey bees' wings stroke 11,400 times per minute, thus making their distinctive buzz.


蜜蜂小百科



蜜蜂和人類歷史的關係極為密切,從古到今,人類把蜜蜂當作珍品。最早的記載,在舊石器時代,西班牙東部的瓦倫西亞的城市"Cuevas de La Arana" 岩石洞窟上,就發現了用英文雕刻的蜂蜜史蹟,因此人類與蜜蜂的關係,從一萬五千年就已開始了。在西班牙,亦有圖繪記載早在6000年前他們便懂得利用蜂蜜。

在埃及,人工養蜂的歷史追溯可早之4500年前。而在中國,蜂蜜的記載在三四千年前的殷商甲骨文中(神農本草經)被例為藥中上品。在回教徒的心目中,蜂蜜更是一種聖藥。養蜂能獲取蜂蜜和蜂蠟之外也對花粉傳播作出了貢獻。

蜜蜂是營集體生活的昆蟲,每只蜜蜂不能單獨生存,這種社會性組織的團體,叫做蜂群,每只蜜蜂都是蜂群中的成員,牠們嚴格地分工合作。一群蜂可由數千到數萬只。而這里面,可分為三種,即是﹕蜂后,工蜂,雄蜂。蜂后是完全發育的雌蜂,雄蜂是完全發育的雄性蜂,工蜂是發育不完整的雌蜂。一只蜜蜂的發育過程概括了四個過程,從卵,幼蟲,蛹,至成蟲。從卵到成蟲及老死,三種蜂各有不同的時間。

每一個蜂群之中,有一只蜂后,牠的主要任務是產卵。蜂后身體比工蜂長約四份之一到三份之一,股部特別長,翅的長度佔股部的一半。六肢不及工蜂強健,沒有花粉囊。此外,亦沒有排蠟器官。目力及嗅覺均不及工蜂。因而不及工蜂敏捷。毒素不是很完全,雖有螫針也不經易用。雄蜂的任務是交配,一生只工作一次。

在交配,生殖器被扯脫在蜂后的股端,雄蜂便立即死亡。牠不會做其他工作,但食量比工蜂更大。一只雄蜂一天吃五只工蜂一天的食量。


牠沒有花粉籃,蜜囊,毒素和排蠟器官,行動不靈敏,擁有良好的觸覺和嗅覺,這使牠易于追尋蜂后。在不需要雄蜂時交配后,工蜂常把它們咬死或逐處餓死以免消耗蜜量。 

蜂后和工蜂是在晴天的午后時分,飛到天空和雄蜂交配。在交配后的一天至三天內便開始產卵。每分鐘可產四到六粒。一只蜂后可以一天產卵二千到三千粒。一年而計則可達五至九萬粒卵。工蜂是我們常見的蜜蜂,翅長到尾端,便于飛翔。全部蜜蜂有三個單眼和一對復眼,一對觸角,三雙足。工蜂則多了花粉囊在牠的后足上。這是長,彎而整齊的毛;用來采集花粉。另外多了蠟板(內藏蠟線)在牠的腹部,用來分泌蜂蠟以造巢。補多有一個蜜胃(蜜囊)用來裝蜜帶回巢。在頭部,有為串球狀體,能分泌蜂皇漿,用以飼養幼蟲和蜂后。牠又能把花粉,蜜和水混合起來,經胃消化之後,調制蜂糧,也是專為蜂后及幼蟲。

蜜蜂並不善于攻擊人,只有受到威脅時,尤其是蜂群受到攻擊時。它的天性是非常防衛而不善于攻擊的,蜜蜂對于氣味非常敏感,氣味的傳播縱在暗處也發揮作用,而蜂螫的毒素成分中有一種化學成分(Isopentyl acetate),會留下氣味在螫處,如手套,皮膚上,或衣帽上,而其他的蜜蜂會引此為﹕"我們的同伴受攻擊了,我必須盡快去幫忙,我必須面對犧牲以成全蜂群。

對于蜜蜂來說,我們可令到牠起防衛心的機會多不勝數,當我們揮手驅趕不讓牠靠近時,我們的手對牠作出了攻擊,當我們的衣服的皺摺之處夾著了牠讓牠几近壓抑,我們呼出的二氧化碳讓牠極不舒服,而又當我們穿紅色衣服,基于牠天性紅色盲,牠會一頭撞在我們衣服上。香奈兒五號”或“毒藥”是女人的喜愛,但蜜蜂卻受不了。對它們來說,這不是天然的氣味。我們嗅著覺得舒服卻令蜜蜂感受威脅,所以牠便犧牲小我螫牠的敵人。蜂的毒素,雖可令起短暫不舒服,卻可治療一些疾病。最廣為人知的當數風濕,關節炎,余有肺炎,腦硬化,不育等等。早期,報章(南洋商報)曾刊登有關在俄羅斯,莫斯科的一間診所在50年代起便有使用這種蜂螫療法。有少數的人,(少于0.1%,几近零)會對蜂螫過敏。只是當你被蜂螫在手指上時,你卻連手肘直到肩膀也腫了時那不叫過敏。那只是正常反應,代表你的免疫系統運作良好。假設你懷疑你有過敏,那要包括了在被螫之後感到

1) 頭昏,
2) 感到虛弱及不太清醒
3) 喉嚨發干及難以呼吸
4) 騷癢
5) 皮膚起巢狀腫塊
6) 普通的腫,

那你應該讓醫生檢查以確定你是否有過敏症。如果是屬實的話,你應該避免任何被螫的機會,也需要有攜帶應急藥物。蜂場中往往備有這種應急藥物以防不時之需.

 

 
 
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