Photo 870046, (c) Vipin Baliga, some rights reserved (CC BY)

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Attribution © Vipin Baliga
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Original https://www.flickr.com/photos/vipinbaliga/14059008450/
Associated observations

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What

Red Dwarf-Honey Bee Apis florea

Observer

vipinbaliga

Date

May 3, 2014

Description

This honeycomb was given to us as a gift by a few sheep herders near Bangalore who had harvested it for their consumption. (wish they hadn't harvested it)

It was Marigold in color unlike the usual light yellow. We were all intrigued to see the different stages of development inside the cells. We could see eggs, larvae in different stages of development and a few emerging bees here and there..

Lifecycle:
Eggs are laid singly in a cell in a wax honeycomb, produced and shaped by the worker bees, the queen actually can choose to fertilize the egg she is laying, usually depending on into which cell she is laying.

Drones develop from unfertilized eggs while females (queens and worker bees) develop from fertilized eggs.

Larvae are initially fed with royal jelly produced by worker bees, later switching to honey and pollen. The exception is a larva fed solely on royal jelly, which will develop into a queen bee. The larva undergoes several moltings before spinning a cocoon within the cell, and pupating.

Young worker bees clean the hive and feed the larvae. When their royal jelly-producing glands begin to atrophy, they begin building comb cells. They progress to other within-colony tasks as they become older, such as receiving nectar and pollen from foragers, and guarding the hive. Later still, a worker takes her first orientation flights and finally leaves the hive and typically spends the remainder of her life as a forager.

Development from egg to emerging bee varies among queens, workers and drones. Queens emerge from their cells in 15,16 days, workers in 21 days and drones in 24 days.

This honeycomb belongs to a species of honey bees called "Dwarf Honey bees" (Apis florea). Their stings are often incapable of penetrating human skin.
(sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honey_bee, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honey_bee_life_cycle, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apis_florea) :-)

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Copyright: Vipin Baliga