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What does a Nurse bee do?

Home Forums HoneyLove Forum What does a Nurse bee do?

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    susan rudnicki

    Beeks—I am posting this quote from the wonderful book by Jurgen Tautz that EVERY beek should read (The Buzz About Bees–Biology of a Superorganism) to really comprehend what the bees are doing there in the dark of their hive, especially the very important work of the Nurse Bees. It may seem arcane knowledge, but if you do not understand these concepts, some of your management decisions can be significantly flawed—and lethal to the bees. Beekeeping is science, even it one thinks that subject can be avoided.

    Here’s the quote from Tautz’s book— from Chap. 8, “Cultivated Intelligence” regarding the activities of nurse bees in caring for the brood, which MUST be kept warm, pg 208 ” Bees uncouple these muscles from the wings by means of the ingenious action of tiny steering muscles and by contracting and relaxing these, increase their metabolic rate. Antagonistic muscles work against one another, and muscle trembles ensue that result in vibrations…. These bees press their thoraces down onto the cell cap that lies beneath them, and transfer their warmth to the pupae enclosed beneath the cell cap. After maximally 30 min in this posture, and a heating performance corresponding to a body temperature of over 43 degrees C., the bees are exhausted and interrupt the activity. The lid of the warmed pupa cell will “glow” for some time after a heater bee has completed heating, and has moved away.”

    ceebs bailey

    Imagine how much energy it takes to do that!

    susan rudnicki

    Yeah, Tautz quantifies that TOO !

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About susan rudnicki

Been beekeeping almost 5 years now. Have 27 hives,(2 client hives) I work with the City of Manhattan Beach, re-homing bees in conflict with citizens. Allowed to keep bees at the Public Works yard (19 hives) in exchange for this work. I do many presentations for HoneyLove, teach bee students, rescue bees and sell honey.


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