What Is The Function Of The Style Of A Flower Heater Bees in the Hive – The Mystery of the Empty Cell Solved

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Heater Bees in the Hive – The Mystery of the Empty Cell Solved

There’s a new discovery in the world of beekeeping that could change the way you think about your queen. Until recently, empty cells in a bee hive were considered a negative thing. Beekeepers puzzled over the function of these seemingly useless empty corners, thinking that they must be some kind of problem with the queen’s ability to lay eggs.

But, with the advent of new thermal imaging technology, scientists now realize that these empty cells do indeed have a function, in fact, the cells are key to the very structure and function of the entire colony. Without those empty cells, the hive would not be able to function as it could.

Beekeepers have known for years that bees are organized into a highly stratified society of different “castes,” but there was one special type of bee they never knew existed until the use of thermal imaging to study hives was introduced. Beekeeping will never be the same again.

This newly discovered type of bee, the one that fills the empty cells, has been called “heater bees”; and this is undoubtedly a very appropriate name.

Heater bees use the empty cells of the hive to crawl inside and literally heat the surrounding cells with their body, the cell walled structure transfers heat that radiates outward from the heater bee’s body.

The heater bee has spread wings and can heat its body a full 10 degrees Celsius more than the average bee, 44 degrees Celsius to be exact. This warming process itself is the mechanism that creates subtle changes in the development of the larvae, transforming them into adult bees of their own caste and social functions.

For example, a developing bee exposed to 35 degrees Celsius will become a forager bee, and a larva exposed to 34 degrees Celsius will become a host bee. Without the heater bee, the entire society and structure of the bee colony would not be able to function in such harmony that each bee performs its specific task and no other.

The success and survival of the community depends on the creation of a certain number of each type of bee so that all the functions of the hive can be performed properly and life can be maintained. As the heat radiates outward from the heater bees, the hive is sure to produce a certain number of each type of bee in the appropriate proportions.

The forager bee is a type of bee that we see gliding gently from flower to flower in our garden during the summer months, but there are many other types of bees that stay inside the hive never to leave it. House bees are one species, and there are also bees that build nests, queen bees, brood bees and guard bees.

Forager bees go to collect precious nectar and pollen from flowering plants, bringing it back to the hive to be used as a food source, a noble task indeed. However, if all the bees performed this function, the hive would collapse because no one would be home to guard the queen, clean things, and feed the developing pupae.

So the mystery of the empty cell is solved, but who knows what new mysteries will be revealed as we struggle to understand this insect that is so vital to our survival and the survival of the planet.

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