Large Carpenter Bees (Xylocopa, Subfamily Xylocopinae); see also PL 16. Large, robust, and blackish; resemble bumble bees. They differ from bumble bees in having 2nd submarginal cell triangular, dorsal surface of abdomen bare and shining, mandibles immediately below the compound eyes, and in having a small rounded jugal lobe in hind wing. Most of them are about 1 in. They nest in cavities excavated in wood (sometimes in buildings).

Small Carpenter Bees {Ceratina, Subfamily Xylocopinae). These are 6-10 mm., relatively robust, not very hairy, and dark bluish green. Basal vein is distinctly arched and they may be confused with halictids, but the much shorter jugal lobe in hind wing distinguishes them. Small carpenter bees nest in galleries that they excavate in the pith of stems of various bushes.

Bumble Bees (Subfamily Apinae, Tribe Bombini); see also Pl. 16. Common and well-known insects; robust, hairy, generally 15-25 mm., and black with yellow (rarely orange) markings. 2nd submarginal cell is more or less rectangular and about as long as the 1st, dorsal surface of abdomen is hairy, there is a distinct space between base of the compound eye and base of the mandible (most other bees have mandibles attached very close to the eyes), and hind wings lack a jugal lobe. Most bumble bees nest in or on the ground, often in a deserted mouse nest. Psithyrus species are inquilines, laying their eggs in nests of other bumble bees. Bumble bees are social, and their colonies contain 3 castes: queens, drones (males), and workers (Psithyrus has no worker caste). Colonies are generally annual, the queens overwintering and starting new colonies in the spring. Queens are usually much larger than workers and drones. Bees in the genus Psithyrus do not collect pollen, and their hind tibiae are rounded, dull, and hairy; other bumble bees (which do collect pollen) have the hind tibiae bare, smooth, and shiny.

Honey Bee (Apis mellifera Linn., Subfamily Apinae, Tribe Apini). Only 1 species occurs in N. America, though there are several strains or races that differ slightly in color and other characters. Honey Bees are very common, widely distributed, and well-known insects. They differ from other bees in having the eyes hairy, no apical spurs on the hind tibiae, and they have a characteristic venation (marginal cell in front wing narrow and parallel-sided, 3rd submarginal cell oblique). Most Honey Bees nest in man-made hives; escaped swarms usually nest in hollow trees. Colonies contain 3 castes: workers (the most abundant individuals and ones most often seen), drones (a little larger, with eyes meeting dorsally), and the queen (abdomen longer than in workers). Honey Bees are extremely valuable insects, not only because of the honey and beeswax they produce, but because of their pollinating activities; their pollinating services are 15 to 20 times as valuable as their honey and wax.

It is often possible to increase greatly the yields of such crops as orchard fruits and clover seed by introducing hives of Honey Bees into orchards or clover fields when the crop is in bloom. The normal yield of red clover seed, for example (about 1 bushel per acre), can be increased to 4 or more bushels per acre with a dense Honey Bee population in the clover fields.

Honey Bees have an interesting "language": a worker that discovers a flower with a good flow of nectar can come back to the hive and "tell" the other workers what direction the flower is from the hive, how far away it is, and what kind of flower it is. Information on the direction and distance of the flower from the hive is communicated by means of a peculiar dance performed by the bee inside the hive. Information on the kind of flower involved is communicated by odor of the flower on the body of the bee or in its honey.

Beekeeping for Beginners

Beekeeping for Beginners

The information in this book is useful to anyone wanting to start beekeeping as a hobby or a business. It was written for beginners. Those who have never looked into beekeeping, may not understand the meaning of the terminology used by people in the industry. We have tried to overcome the problem by giving explanations. We want you to be able to use this book as a guide in to beekeeping.

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