bee


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bee,

name for flying insectsinsect,
invertebrate animal of the class Insecta of the phylum Arthropoda. Like other arthropods, an insect has a hard outer covering, or exoskeleton, a segmented body, and jointed legs. Adult insects typically have wings and are the only flying invertebrates.
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 of the superfamily Apoidea, in the same order as the antsant,
any of the 2,500 insect species constituting the family Formicidae of the order Hymenoptera, to which the bee and the wasp also belong. Like most members of the order, ants have a "wasp waist," that is, the front part of the abdomen forms a narrow stalk, called the waist,
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 and the waspswasp,
name applied to many winged insects of the order Hymenoptera, which also includes ants and bees. Most wasps are carnivorous, feeding on insects, grubs, or spiders. They have biting mouthparts, and the females have stings with which they paralyze their prey.
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. Bees are characterized by their enlarged hind feet, typically equipped with pollen baskets of stiff hairs for gathering pollen. They usually have a dense coat of feathery hairs on the head and thorax. In many, the lip forms a long tube for sucking nectar. Bees feed on pollen and nectar; the latter is converted to honeyhoney,
sweet, viscid fluid produced by honeybees from the nectar of flowers. The nectar is taken from the flower by the worker bee and is carried in the honey sac back to the hive.
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 in the bee's digestive tract. There are about 20,000 species of bees. They may be solitary, social, or parasitic in the nests of other bees. The solitary bees (which do not secrete wax) are called carpenter, plasterer, leaf-cutting, burrowing, or mason bees according to the material or method used to construct nests for their young.

Social Bees

The groups of social bees, including altogether about 400 species, are the bumblebees, the stingless bees, and the honeybees.

Bumblebees and Stingless Bees

Bumblebees belong to the genus Bombus. In the tropics bumblebee colonies continue for many years, but in temperate regions the workers and the drones die in the fall. Only the young, fertilized queens live through the winter, in hibernation. In the spring they begin new colonies, often laying their eggs in the deserted nests of field mice and chipmunks. The stingless bees are chiefly tropical. Some species release a caustic liquid that burns the skin. Tetragonisca angustula, a stingless bee of the American tropics, has soldier bees, larger than the worker bees, that guard the entrances to the nests.

Honeybees

The honeybee commonly raised for production of honey and waxwax,
substance secreted by glands on the abdomen of the bee and known commonly as beeswax; also various substances resembling beeswax. Waxes are mixtures comprising chiefly esters of monohydroxy alcohols, besides other esters and free fatty acids, free alcohols, and higher
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 in many parts of the world is Apis mellifera, of Old World origin. Honeybees build nests, or combs, of wax, which is secreted by glands in the abdomen. They store honey for future use in the hexagonal cells of the comb. In the wild the nests are made in caves or hollow trees, but beekeepers provide nesting boxes, called hives. Beekeeping, or apiculture, is more than 4,000 years old, but humans collected honey and beeswax several thousand years before that.

A typical colony consists of three castes: the large queen, who produces the eggs, many thousands of workers (sexually undeveloped females), and a few hundred drones (fertile males). At the tip of a female bee's abdomen is a strong, sharp lancet, or sting, connected to poison glands. In the queen, who stings only rival queens, the sting is smooth and can be withdrawn easily; in the worker bee the sting is barbed and can rarely be withdrawn without tearing the body of the bee, causing it to die. The workers gather nectar; make and store honey; build the cells; clean, ventilate (by fanning their wings), and protect the hive. They also feed and care for the queen and the larvae. They communicate with one another (for example, about the location of flowers) by performing dances in specific patterns. The workers live for only about six weeks during the active season, but those that hatch (i.e., emerge from the pupa stage) in the fall live through the winter. The drones die in the fall.

A developing bee goes through the larva and pupa stages in the cell and emerges as an adult. The larva is fed constantly by the worker bees; the pupa is sealed into the cell. Fertilized eggs develop into workers; unfertilized eggs become drones. A fertilized egg may also become a queen if the larva is fed royal jelly, a glandular secretion thought to contain sex hormones as well as nutrients, until she pupates. Worker larvae receive this food only during the first three days of larval life, afterward receiving beebread, a mixture of pollen and honey.

When a hive becomes overcrowded a swarm may leave with the old queen and establish a new colony. The old colony in the meantime rears several new queens. The first queen that hatches stings the others to death in their cells; if two emerge at once, they fight until one is killed. Mating then occurs. A newly hatched queen is followed aloft in a nuptial flight by the drones, only one of which impregnates her, depositing millions of sperm that are stored in a pouch in her body. The drone dies, and the queen returns to the hive, where for the rest of her life (usually several years) she lays eggs continuously in the cells.

Importance of Bees

Bees are of inestimable value as agents of cross-pollination (see pollinationpollination,
transfer of pollen from the male reproductive organ (stamen or staminate cone) to the female reproductive organ (pistil or pistillate cone) of the same or of another flower or cone.
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), and many plants are entirely dependent on particular kinds of bees for their reproduction (such as red clover, which is pollinated by the bumblebee, and many orchids). In many cases the use of insecticides for agricultural pest control has had the unwelcome side effect of killing the bees necessary for maintaining the crop. Such environmental stresses plus several species of parasitic mites devastated honeybee populations in the United States beginning in the 1980s, making it necessary for farmers to rent bees from keepers in order to get their crops pollinated and greatly affecting the pollination of plants in the wild.

In 2006, commercial honeybee hives first suffered from colony collapse disorder, which, for unclear reasons, left many bee boxes empty of bees after overwintering. Dead bees from affected colonies have since been found to be infected with viruses and other pathogens that, acting synergistically, may be the cause. Although colony collapse disorder peaked in 2007 and has subsided, commercial honeybee hives continue to suffer significantly from the effects of disease and pesticides.

The increasing expense of using honeybees to pollinate agricultural crops has led to the growing use of such alternative species as bumblebees and blue orchard mason bees as well as wild bees as supplemental or primary pollinators. The successful use of wild bees as agricultural pollinators typically requires providing or ensuring access to alternative food sources before and after the crop flowers and limiting practices, such as the use of pesticides, that might kill wild bees.

Bee venom has been found to have medicinal properties. Toasted honeybees are eaten in some parts of the world.

Classification

Bees are classified in the phylum ArthropodaArthropoda
[Gr.,=jointed feet], largest and most diverse animal phylum. The arthropods include crustaceans, insects, centipedes, millipedes, spiders, scorpions, and the extinct trilobites.
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, class Insecta, order Hymenoptera, superfamily Apoidea.

Bibliography

See M. Maeterlinck, The Life of the Bee (1913); K. von Frisch, The Dance Language and Orientation of Bees (1965, tr. 1967); M. Lindauer, Communication Among Social Bees (rev. ed. 1971); C. Mitchener, Social Behavior of Bees (1974); F. Ruttner, Biogeography and Raxonomy of Honey Bees (1987); M. Winston, The Biology of the Honey Bee (1987); James L. and Carol Gould, The Honey Bee (1988).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/

bee

[]
(invertebrate zoology)
Any of the membranous-winged insects which compose the superfamily Apoidea in the order Hymenoptera characterized by a hairy body and by sucking and chewing mouthparts.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

bee

proverbial busyness refers to ceaseless activity of worker bees. [Western Folklore: Jobes, 445]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

bee

1
any hymenopterous insect of the superfamily Apoidea, which includes social forms such as the honeybee and solitary forms such as the carpenter bee

bee

2
Nautical a small sheave with one cheek removed and the pulley and other cheek fastened flat to a boom or another spar, used for reeving outhauls or stays
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005

Bees

(dreams)
Consider the details of this dream, as well as your emotional reactions in it, as bees can have a variety of different connotations. The positive symbolism is that of a person who is hard working, has good organizational skills, and is cooperative and creative. The negative symbolism could be that of a follower, a busybody, or someone who “stings.” If you are working on a project in which many people need to work together to accomplish a goal, this may be a topic for some of your dreams.
Bedside Dream Dictionary by Silvana Amar Copyright © 2007 by Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
References in classic literature ?
After the Wax-moth has grown strong, a Shadow will fall across the gate; a Voice will speak from behind a Veil; there will be Light, and Hot Smoke, and earthquakes, and those who live will see everything that they have done, all together in one place, burned up in one great fire." The old Queen was trying to tell what she had been told of the Bee Master's dealings with an infected hive in the apiary, two or three seasons ago; and, of course, from her point of view the affair was as important as the Day of Judgment.
One albino, for instance, divided the number of pounds of honey in stock by the number of bees in the Hive, and proved that if every bee only gathered honey for seven and three quarter minutes a day, she would have the rest of the time to herself, and could accompany the drones on their mating flights.
"Hut!" said that wise bee, fretting with an old maid of a thistle.
A Shadow fell across the alighting-board as the Bee Master and his son came by.
Now panic was in full blast, and each sound bee found herself embraced by at least three Oddities.
"Aren't you confusing pod hoc with propter hoc?" said the Bee Master.
He could find no pleasure with the industrious bees, and sighed to be away with his idle friends, the butterflies; so while the others worked he slept or played, and then, in haste to get his share, he tore the flowers, and took all they had saved for their own food.
So he sought out the idle, wilful bees, whom he had first made discontented, bidding them follow him, and win the honey the Queen had stored up for the winter.
So while the industrious bees were out among the flowers, he led the drones to the hive, and took possession of the honey, destroying and laying waste the home of the kind bees; then, fearing that in their grief and anger they might harm him, Thistle flew away to seek new friends.
So, faint and sad, he lay down to rest on a broad vine-leaf, that fluttered gently in the wind; and as he lay, he saw beneath him the home of the kind bees whom he had so disturbed, and Lily-Bell had helped and comforted.
So each day Thistle filled a flower-cup, and laid it at the door; and each day the bees wondered more and more, for many strange things happened.
But the bees never saw him, for he feared he had not yet done enough to win their forgiveness and friendship; so he lived alone among the vines, daily bringing them honey, and doing some kindly action.