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This is a continuation of the article "The structure of the bee".
Carbohydrates and fats in the form of sugars and starch are essential for bees to nourish their muscles.
Their consumption increases significantly during the flight of bees, since during this period all muscles are in the greatest tension. The amount of stored fats has a significant effect on the lifespan of hibernating bees.
Mineral salts and vitamins are part of any living organism, including the organism of bees, and their quantity and purpose are specific for each organism separately. The nectar is secreted by the flowers of plants and, having different smells and sweet taste, attracts insects. Depending on weather conditions and time of day, nectar can have up to 50% water, especially after rain or in the morning after a dewy night.
When collecting and transferring nectar, bees process it into honey. Processing consists in removing excess water and enriching it with various enzymes, which makes honey acidic.
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The collected nectar is handed over to the receiving bees, who put it in the cells of the combs. The cells are filled with nectar only 20-30% of their volume. This increases the evaporative surface of the nectar, and it quickly reaches the required moisture content.
When the humidity in honey reaches no more than 20%, the bees fill the cells to the top with honey and print them with thin wax caps.
Due to the pharyngeal glands and the effect of oxygen on the nectar, complex nectar sugars are converted into simpler ones - fruit and grape, - which reach 73-75% by the end of honey processing, and neither bees nor humans need to spend energy on its digestion. The pollen collected from various flowers, enriched with enzymes of the pharyngeal glands and nectar, is converted into protein feed, bee bread.
The bees tamp the bee bread into the cells and cover it with honey. Due to the bactericidal properties of honey, bee bread in this form can be stored for several years. But storage requires a dry room, where the air humidity would not exceed 20-30%.
Perga contains about 20% carbohydrates and protein and 3-5% mineral salts. Fats vary significantly from 4 to 15%.
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The digestive tract of a bee consists of the esophagus, honey goiter, which can hold up to 45 mg of nectar, midgut, stomach proper, small and large hind intestines. The latter has a folded surface. Due to the folds, it is able to accumulate in itself a significant amount of feces, and the bees do not defecate throughout the winter.
The rectal glands in the hindgut secrete the enzyme catalase, which protects the contents of the intestine from putrefactive decomposition.
Bees of northern populations - Central Russian, Bashkir, Far East - have well-developed rectal glands, and southerners - vice versa. Therefore, they cannot bear our long winters.
The function of blood in bees is a colorless liquid called hemolymph.
The movement of hemolymph through the body is carried out with the help of the heart.
At the bases of the antennae and legs there are pulsating vesicles that promote the advancement of the hemolymph into the narrowest places of the antennae, legs and wings.
The number of heart contractions per minute in bees in a calm state is about 60-70. In flight, this frequency doubles.
Breathing in bees is carried out through tiny holes in the body called the trachea. Oxygen passes through them directly to the cells of the body.
Air enters the trachea through the spiracles, the walls of which are covered with the smallest hairs, due to which the air is purified from dust.
If you observe a calmly sitting bee, you can notice the breathing movements of its abdomen, with a frequency of 40-45 times per minute.
When breathing, the bee excretes a significant amount of water from the body. Especially a lot of it stands out when excited. Therefore, when transporting bees, ventilation in the hive or bag must be good. Otherwise, they will be steamed. The bee does not have time to evaporate excess moisture from its body, it becomes wet and dies.
Bees have good hearing. Depending on the circumstances, they recognize different sounds that orient the rest of the bees to the appropriate reactions. So, bees of queenless colonies emit their own characteristic sound, by which experienced beekeepers unmistakably determine that there is no queen in the family. The bees preparing to swarm have a special buzz. If in the evening, when the years are over, walk between the rows of hives, then you can easily identify a family preparing to swarm. The sound made by the bees of this family is different from the sounds made by bees when processing nectar in the hive or simply when ventilating it. Well-developed sense of smell and touch allow bees to distinguish alien bees that have fallen into their family, to catch the smells of flowering plants in the air jets. The smell of bee venom activates the bees to attack. The bees determine the presence of a queen in the hive by the smell of the mother substance. The absence of a queen in the hive, and therefore of her smell, prompts the bees to lay queen cells.
The fact that the bees have a rather delicate taste can be seen by giving them sugar syrup with some kind of antibiotic. They take it, but not as fast as pure syrup.
A highly developed nervous system allows the bees of the six to have a coordinated family lifestyle and subtly perceive external factors. They can be protective (favorable) and unfavorable.
The life of bees in a single family is ensured by innate reflexes, and outside it - by conditioned ones.
If bees can be trained to smell certain flowers by feeding them sugar syrup with an admixture of these flowers, then, unfortunately, they do not get used to the smell of their owner and sting him just like everyone else if he causes them anxiety.
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