Bees don't repair themselves like we do. What they are born with is what they got. This isn't strictly true but it's close. Having no lungs they breath directly into the muscles and other organs, which are few. The flight muscles are the same ones that are used to make heat, so when a bee isn't flying in summer it's working in the winter. Winter bees are special. They retain a hypopharyngeal gland as is found in a nurse bee. (In older bees it changes). Like estrogen this somehow protects against aging. Winter bees also have more "fat bodies" to store energy. These can be given up to make brood food when things are tough. I digress.
As has been said, they die when they are worn out. Not unlike us in that way, are they?
Also, don't forget the drones who are tossed out of the hive by the girls when cold weather's coming, to die because the colony knows that feeding those "playboys" won't help their over-winter survival.
>>Winter bees are special. They retain a hypopharyngeal gland as is found in a nurse bee. (In older bees it changes). Like estrogen this somehow protects against aging.
Does it allow the bees to repair or maintain themselves with protiens, unlike summer worker bees? I am assuming this gland is reponsible then for further muscle and wing development after the bees emergance,.
[ December 04, 2005, 09:23 AM: Message edited by: Ian ]
This is soo cool. I hadnt know of sutch a gland in younger bee, let alone wintering bees.
Why does it change as the summerbees grow older?
I wounder if queens retain this gland throughout her life time? Or maybe it is the younger bees that feed this secreation to her through out her life time.
She hasn't said, but she often asks if the bees need pollen at all once they are adults. Of course the common thinking is they don't. And in the summer this appears to be true. Hive with pollen always seem to winter better and that, of course, is partly because they rear more brood, but do they also live longer overwinter with pollen around. Winter bees are a bit different.
This gland is used in nurse bees to make brood food. The brood is not fed pollen directly. Nurse bees eat/ingest it and mixing gland secretions and honey create the royal jelly formula. When a nurse becomes a forager this gland evolves to a new use. It is then a producer of "invertase" which is used to change nectar >sucrose< to glucose and fructose which is honey. Under certain conditions it can change back again.
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