It’s a girl’s world. This is especially true when you’re talking about honey bees. Over 95% of the 60,000+ honey bees in a healthy honey bee colony are female. Bees are social creatures and each worker is assigned responsibilities to perform for the hive based upon their age. The older they are, the more time they get to spend outside of the hive, with the Field Bees spending the most time out of the hive when they go foraging for nectar, pollen, water and propolis.
But what if Worker Bees had to take on human jobs? Below is a top 5 list of likely occupations for Worker Bees:
5) Mortician: Worker Bees would feel at home in a funeral home because in their hives worker bees spend nearly a week being in charge of removing dead bee corpses from the hive so diseases and other health threats are kept out. In addition to bee bodies, they sometimes have to carry out dead yellow jackets and robber bee bodies that were slain while trying to rob the hive.
4) Nanny: Move over Mary Poppins — there are harder working nannies in town. They don’t sing about a “spoonful of sugar”, but they do like to feed the young baby bee larvae a “mouthful of honey”, along with pollen and royal jelly. Worker bees tend to thousands of baby bee larvae in hives, making sure they all grow up to be strong worker bees and keep the health of the hive going.
3) HVAC Repair Woman: Workers strive to keep hives at a constant temperature of 92° F. In the summer months, the worker bees use their wings to furiously fan the hive and generate air currents to keep the hive cooler. In the winter, the workers all cluster together and clench their muscles repeatedly to create body heat and maintain the temperature of 92° F. We all like to keep our home thermostats at comfortable temperatures — a worker bee would make a great HVAC repair woman to keep all your heating and air-conditioning units running smoothly all year.
2) Security Guard: You can easily spot guard bees at the entrance of a hive — they are on the alert and ready at a moment’s notice to warn the hive of unwanted intruders. They check the scent of all who try to enter the hive, making sure they are “friend” and not “foe”. They drive off all unfamiliar trespassers by releasing an alarm pheromone which warns the hive that danger is near and must be dealt with. We’ve all heard of silent alarm systems, the pheromones may be silent, but once those bees start buzzing toward the danger, it gets pretty loud, indeed.
1) Mail Deliverer: “Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail shall keep the post-woman from her appointed rounds.” Foraging is the toughest time in the life span of worker bees. They get cold and encounter things that may not be “bee friendly,” perhaps even becoming another creature’s lunch — but they never give up. They are dedicated to delivering the hive the water, pollen, nectar and propolis that is needed to keep the hive healthy. Foraging bees are easy to spot — they are darker in color and their wings may be tattered from all the strenuous flying they have to do these last weeks of their lives. Like a determined mail deliverer, foraging worker bees are committed to making sure all their deliveries are made.
“Busy as a bee” is a saying for a good reason. Worker Bees are always working for the health of the hive. If you’re ever looking for inspiration to help motivate you to get a job done, look no further than the worker honey bee.