The social life of honey bees is an epic

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The social life of honey bees is an epic

Apis mellifera is native to Egypt and the regions located a little further east. In the Pleistocene it was divided into 24 subspecies which today form three well recognizable groups: one from the western Mediterranean, one from the eastern Mediterranean and one from tropical Africa.

From 1600 to 1900 various strains of Mediterranean bees were introduced both in North America, with success, and in South America, but with little success. In 1956, 47 queens of the African subspecies Apis mellifera scutellata were brought to Brazil in order to create local hybrids with better characteristics.

But the hybrids obtained proved to be rather aggressive and too inclined to abandon the nest following the disturbance caused by normal beekeeping operations. Casually escaped in nature, the new strain invaded a large part of South America, then Central America until it reached the United States, coming into contact with the Mediterranean strains.

Today the biologists who fight against this and other unwanted forms, proceed to the recognition of the different subspecies using the Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism, a technique that highlights the polymorphisms at the DNA level by cutting with restriction enzymes.

The queen, extraordinarily prolific, has the task of laying eggs and ensuring the cohesion of the colony; it is the first to flicker among the queens raised by the family, it is larger than the workers and drones and provided with a quill, or sting, which it uses almost exclusively to kill the rival queens, her sisters, ready to flicker after her.

Unlike the workers, it lacks the apparatus for collecting pollen, the pharyngeal glands and the ceripar glands. The queen can live up to 4 or 5 years. In relation to its very intense reproductive activity it has a higher metabolism than that of the workers, and has the heart corpora more developed, while the corpora allata are less developed than in the workers.

The Social Life of Honey Bees

The Social Life of Honey Bees study, published on the The Veterinary clinics of North America. Food animal practice, made an epic of this extraordinary phenomenon of nature. The researchers explain: "Honey bees have evolved to use pollen, nectar, and water as their principal food sources.

Their success is linked to the establishment of large colonies with one female reproductive member, three distinct social castes, a division of labor among workers, and genetically diverse subfamilies. Colonies also have the ability to recruit and communicate through complex mechanisms including dance language and pheromones.

Pheromones produced by the queen maintain social order in the colony and ensure that she remains as the only female to lay eggs. Finally, honey bee colonies reproduce and disperse through a mechanism called swarming."