Welcome To The Bee Colony
Like a well oiled and perfectly calibrated machine, the bee colony is an intricate and fascinating marvel to behold. Making no waste of time, energy, or resources, the stronghold of the colony is exemplary, and their methods meticulous. They are diligent and unshakable in their uniform routine, and have built a society which depends solely on great numbers for survival.
Though species and their impact on the world vary, the basic rules of thumb within any bee colony differ very little:
-Safety in numbers.
-Do your job.
-No visitors allowed.
Though some species, such as the orchard mason bee, do not colonize at all, the remainder tend to have a longer life span which makes colonizing a necessity. A bees survival during the winter months, while pollinating is not an option, is dependent upon the collective warmth and intricate structure of the colony and hive. Most interactive species house a queen, and she is the center hub of the bee colony.
In many colonies, the queen will find and initiate the nesting area, which will originally be formed of twenty-five or less cells to support the development of worker bees. As the new workers continue to feed the queen and build a more substantial hive, the smaller starter cells will give way to honey storage or be recalibrated for larger drone bee pupae.
For displaced colonies, or those who have suffered the loss of their hive structure, the scout bees carry the burden of finding a new residential building site. Like dancers in a ballet company, they gather together on a designated tree and communicate their collective findings through flutters of the legs and wings. Once a decision is reached, always unanimously, they relocate and begin construction.
The responsibility of raising the young, or ensuring proper food storages per pupae cell, is taken upon by the worker bees, as are the housekeeping and maintenance duties. The drones are most notable for their reproductive journeys, patterned to find and mate virgin queens the countryside over. When a new queen emerges within a colony, she leaves within 5 days to be mated by up to 12 drones from other colonies.
The danger she faces when returning to her colony for gestation is a grave one, as the worker bees can often take a disliking to the rival scent of her suitors. In this case, a group of fifteen to twenty worker bees may encircle her for days until she suffers death by starvation. This term, known as “balling”, tends to spread throughout the colony, as the initial ballers often fall victim to the same treatment by their peers. It is thought that the close proximity to the offending queen causes the rival scent to permeate the ballers, thus intensifying and perpetuating the descent within the hive.