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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there, I'm not a beekeeper, but writing a book involving bees. Hoping someone can answer a question for me: when a larva sheds its skin, do worker bees clean it out of the cell shortly after, or does it remain until the larva is fully grown and cleans its own cell?

And could you describe what the shed skin looks like? Is it a visible casing, retaining some of the larva's shape, or does it just kind of... peel off into scraps?

Many thanks!
 

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there is a bit of silk cocoon in the capped cell, but they don't molt. there's no shed skin. it's a metamorphosis. like a butterfly
 

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The PHDs speak of "instar" stages of larval growth. You might stump Google if you inquired about what happens between stages.
Walt
 

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I am unsure what happens to the shed exuvia, but I would guess it is either eaten by the larva or cleaned out buy attendant bees. Generally speaking when a larva molts they tear the old exuvia along a suture (a weak point of the old exuvia) and wiggle out leaving the molted exuvia in one piece, more or less. After their final larval instar they will produce a pupa, which may be inside a cocoon I don't know. While in this pupal stage they develop their adult features and then molt the pupal exuvia and emerge as an adult. I think a bit of research would give you more specific information what I have given is a bit more generalized.
 

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You can find it in the bottom of cells at times, small white mass that gets recycled or cleaned up at some point after emergence
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you for the answers so far, everyone! I really appreciate it.

The larvae does not clean its own cell when fully grown.

What are you writing that warrants this sort of detail?
Ah, I meant after emerging? Is that right? I was under the impression that one of the first things a worker does after emerging is to clean its own cell? Or cells nearby.

It's imaginative fiction, so this amount of detail or accuracy isn't critical, just something for me to work with!
 

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The first thing an adult bee does upon emerging is get fed. Then as she ages she goes through a series of "jobs". House cleaning being one of those jobs. She may end up cleaning the cell she came from, but it isn't like she emerges and then turns around and cleans the cell she emerged from. She doesn't make her own bed, as it were.

You might try to find "The Encyclopedia of Beekeeping" by Roger Morse and (?), I'm not sure of the second author. You should be able to find it through Wicwas Press or Bee Culture Magazine. Therein you will find all sorts of info on bees and beekeeping. Especially a chart on the life of a bee from emerging through to her death. What she does and for how long each day even. Bees spend a lot of time at rest.

I'm glad you checked w/ beekeepers for direction.

I am currently corresponding w/ a publishing company who illustrated their book cover, entitled "The Bees Are Gone", w/ a hornet's nest saying that it is a classic beehive. Please don't make that same mistake. There is enough misinformation out there.

Best wishes. Good sales to you.
 

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>>Ah, I meant after emerging? Is that right? I was under the impression that one of the first things a worker does after emerging is to clean its own cell? Or cells nearby.
>The first thing an adult bee does upon emerging is get fed.

That's what I have observed. She walks up to the first bees she sees and begs for food... sometimes she then she sticks her head in a larva cell and eats a bit of royal jelly. I'm not sure how long it takes her to start cleaning cells because by then I've lost her in the crowd and it's hard to say which one she is.
 

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>Mine are bar coded.

Cool idea... I bet it's time consuming to mark them all... ;)

It would be interesting to watch them in an observation hive that could be quickly opened to mark a bee of interest and then follow it, but if I did that in the living room, I think the other people would get excited... and not in a good way...
 
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