01-26-2000, 05:01 PM
i'm doing a school project on honey bees and was hoping to learn some information from an expert. i was wondering what the honey bees eat. i was also wondering, what does the drone do. madam or sir please, can you give the information for my questions,please!
I'm glad to see that there are young people who are interested in Honeybees. I am a beekeeper from Mississippi. Although I am not an expert on honeybees, I will try and answer your questions. This information comes from what I like to refer to as my Honeybee Bible. It is called The ABC and XYZ of Bee Culture by ROOT publishing 40th Edition.
FOOD OF THE HONEY BEE
Adult honey bees feed exclusively on honey and pollen. Honey is their source of carbohydrate and pollen provides the bees with protein and the small amount of fat they need. The vitamins, minerals and other substances bees need for a balanced diet are contained in both the honey and the pollen though the pollen is richer in these materials than is honey. Pollens vary a great deal as regards their protein content. However, the fact that bees feed on many flowers, and there is always a mixture of pollens in the hive, makes up for any deficiencies that may occur in any one pollen.
Young worker larvae and queen larvae are fed a special diet called royal jelly. This is secreted from glands in the heads of young worker bees. Depending upon the age of the larvae the royal jelly may contain some honey and pollen.
The only other things bees collect in the field besides pollen and nectar are water and propolis.(propolis is plant and tree sap the bees use to stick things together and seal up cracks and holes in the hive) Their specialized feeding habits set the honey bees and other bees aside from all other insects for while many also feed on nectar and /or pollen it is rare that it is their exclusive diet or that of their young.
A male honey bee is called a drone. Drones serve only one function and that is to mate. They have a sensory system, including the eyes and antennae, that is much larger and more developed than those of the workers and queens. Drones may feed themselves when they first emerge from their cells but soon learn they can solicit food from workers with ease. Since the drones serve no useful function in the winter they are slowly starved by the workers in the fall or during a dearth. (a time of very little or no pollen or nectar being available). When they have become weak they are dragged from the nest and allowed to die outside of the hive. Drones do not forage but return to the hive for food after a mating flight. Drones take longer to develop than do the workers and queens.
This information comes from the book like I previously stated. Other food that honey bees will eat is sometimes fed to them by beekeepers. When there is a dearth, or if bees in a beekeeper's apiary do not have enough honey stored up for the winter, a beekeeper will feed the bees a sugar syrup made up of water and sugar and a pollen supplement or substitute which is made of brewer's yeast and soybean flower with pollen and honey or sugar added to make it more attractive to the bees so they will eat it.
I hope that I have helped you with this information. The University of Ohio is also a good source of information on honey bees. I am sure that you have found a lot of other sources on the internet too.
Good luck on your school project.
David J. Caldwell