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nectar collectors

By CarolG  
The hum of the bees collecting nectar for this year's honey production is very much in evidence in the meadows now, with the fields full of early spring flowers. V.2 is a fun capture, the little bee dressed in pollen from head to tail Smile

How honey is made....................

Honey bees obtain two things from flowers: nectar (for honey production) and pollen. As the female worker bee sucks nectar from flowers, it is stored in her special honey stomach which she uses as a "nectar backpack". This is completely separate from her digestive stomach although there is a valve connecting the two which she can open when hungry. This allows her to pass through some honey to be converted to energy for her own needs. After visiting between 150 to 1500 flowers, the honey stomach is full and almost equal in weight to bee herself. At this point the worker bee laboriously returns to the hive with her load.
The worker bees retuning to the hive laden with nectar are often confused with other workers returning with pollen (they never do both on the same trip). Worker bees have hair-like "baskets" on their hind legs and it is into these that they pack pollen grains while visiting flowers. These bees are easily identified because of the brightly colored orange (and sometimes yellow) pollen packed into their baskets. They present an almost comical appearance as they "waddle" about the hive carrying their oversized loads of pollen. The pollen is sometimes referred to as "bee-bread", and when mixed with honey forms the diet of the next cycle of brood being raised in the hive. When inspecting the brood combs of a hive, a multicolored ring of pollen can normally be observed encircling the brood in the center of the comb. A bee returning to the hive with a load of nectar is almost immediately greeted by other workers ready to relieve her of the load. A mouth to mouth transfer is normally done between a field bee and one of the hive bees as the adjacent photo shows. Notice the extended "tongues". The recipient bee processes the honey in its mouth and honey stomach by the addition of enzymes that break the complex sugars in the nectar into simple sugars that is both more digestible by the bees and ultimately gives the honey its characteristic long "shelf life". Nectar returned to the hive at this point is barely recognizable as honey. The nectar initially is nearly 80% water with the remainder consisting primarily of complex sugars. After processing the honey with enzymes, small droplets are typically deposited on the upper side of a cell wall awaiting its final conversion into viscous honey with which we humans are acquainted. This conversion is largely an evaporation process which, in turn, is hastened by the warm temperature (95 degrees F) maintained in the hive and the movement of air across the honey combs. Leaving nothing to chance, the bees actually control the movement of air by fanning their wings in a coordinated effort. The buzzing sound coming from a hive (even at night when there is no flying) is due to this "forced evaporation" process. The end result is thick, viscous honey with a 17% - 18% moisture content.
In the peak summer months a worker bee literally works herself to death visiting flowers and transporting the precious cargo back to the hive. During this frenzied time of activity in preparation for the coming winter, a worker bee only lives approximately 35 days. At the end of her days, her wings become so frayed that her usefulness is over and she is rejected by the colony.

Tags: Wildlife Bee Nature General Close-up and macro Wildlife and nature Close-up macro

Voters: gajewski, Andysnapper, Hermanus and 69 more

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gajewski Plus
13 10 9 United States
18 Feb 2013 6:27AM
Wow, Carol -- so this is how its done. You are the master. V2 is my favorite.

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Andysnapper 10 109 25 England
18 Feb 2013 6:43AM
Superb and heart-warming, Spring is finally on its way. We had a lovely day here yesterday as well, felt good to feel the Sun again.

Hermanus 5 4 South Africa
18 Feb 2013 6:48AM
In my humble opinion this guy is more effective collecting pollen than nectar Smile two great images Carol !
ugly Plus
10 9 57 United Kingdom
18 Feb 2013 6:51AM
V1 for me today..
A very nice set...

andylea 9 37 1 United Kingdom
18 Feb 2013 7:16AM
two beautys carol wonderful colour and detail v2 for me today a cracker nice one Wink
achieverswales 7 8 101 Wales
18 Feb 2013 7:38AM
I will never look at bees in the same light Carol, excellent write up, both good but V1 edges it.


marktc Plus
7 101 15 United Kingdom
18 Feb 2013 7:40AM
Two terrific captures Carol, I'm in awe of how you do it... Are you really Dr Doolittle

Caziwinkles 5 3 1 United Kingdom
18 Feb 2013 7:53AM
Two amazing images Carol together with fascinating information. The detail in your shots is terrific. Very, very well done. GrinGrinGrin

LynneJoyce Plus
9 20 99 United Kingdom
18 Feb 2013 8:23AM
Two excellent shots.
Jasper87 Plus
8 2.0k 150 England
18 Feb 2013 8:35AM
.... and it tastes so good as well.... SmileSmileSmile Lovely images and informative write up, Carol.

capto Plus
6 5.2k 8 United Kingdom
18 Feb 2013 8:36AM
Two excellent shots, very informative.

18 Feb 2013 8:36AM
V1 for me Carol, excellent macro,
KarenFB Plus
12 5.0k 171 England
18 Feb 2013 8:40AM
An amazing write up - made me feel sorry for the poor bees!
9 10 10 England
18 Feb 2013 9:03AM
Will return to finish reading the interesting write up but the two shots are excellent Carol.
pluckyfilly 11 351 33 United Kingdom
18 Feb 2013 9:10AM
Great duo today again, that camera of yours does you proud Carol
18 Feb 2013 9:21AM
Two stunning closeshots Carol,great write up..Lin
18 Feb 2013 9:25AM
fine captures as normal Carol and enjoyed the narrative
richmowil Plus
9 352 2 England
18 Feb 2013 9:33AM
Two Excellent images!!
tonyng 8 10 2 United Kingdom
18 Feb 2013 10:22AM
Fascinating read. Very educational indeed. Nice set of images Carol.
SUE118 Plus
9 8 1 United Kingdom
18 Feb 2013 10:43AM
The macro is amazing and clear. They must feel very heavy.
AnnChown Plus
8 207 1 United Kingdom
18 Feb 2013 10:52AM
I love honey - a fascinating read, thanks Carol. I love v2 - I'm surprised he can fly!
EAS 9 1 13 Scotland
18 Feb 2013 10:54AM
Always did admire those busy little fellows and now feel even more for them, poor wee things! Two beautiful images.

Lillian Plus
8 22 17 United Kingdom
18 Feb 2013 11:10AM
Very informative Carol
and jolly good images too
18 Feb 2013 11:34AM
Se ve la miel..Excelente..
TrevBatWCC Plus
9 12 12 England
18 Feb 2013 11:52AM
Clever little creatures, aren't they? Next time I have some honey, I'll be thinking about all the effort that went into producing it...Smile Two excellent shots, Carol Smile
Trev Smile
Joline Plus
11 30 53 United States
18 Feb 2013 12:16PM
Doing what bees do...his little saddle bags are really loaded.
lonely_oryx 10 61 55 England
18 Feb 2013 12:41PM
V2 is an excellent illustration of bees at work
basith 5 7 Sri Lanka
18 Feb 2013 2:12PM
stunning capture and good detail....

Stace Plus
10 2 2 England
18 Feb 2013 2:54PM
2 great images Carol. v2 for me

milky 14 Wales
18 Feb 2013 3:21PM
Beautiful capture in both nice detail & colours----------MilkyWink
danbrann Plus
13 637 17
18 Feb 2013 3:22PM
A great narrative to go with your wonderful images Carol.
bricurtis Plus
12 2.2k 49 England
18 Feb 2013 3:29PM
V2 Carol - looks to be saturated with pollen.
AnneWorner 10 620 43 United States
18 Feb 2013 3:45PM
Thanks for all the information in your commentary.

Amazing the amount of pollen that attaches to them - evident in v1, but very special in v2.

18 Feb 2013 4:04PM
Two fascinating images Carol. V2 is a cracker one. Thanks for the information.
Brian65 9 2 United Kingdom
18 Feb 2013 5:47PM
Fantastic shots as always CarolSmileSmileSmile
18 Feb 2013 6:30PM
Super captures and detail, Carol.

RuthyJ 11 England
18 Feb 2013 6:38PM
Fabulous Carol. V2 looks a little suffocated with pollen SmileSmile
18 Feb 2013 7:17PM
Two awesome shots carol, the colour and detail is wonderful, my favourite is v2 Smile
tomcat 12 6.4k 15 United Kingdom
18 Feb 2013 7:51PM
Evenin' Carol,
Just playing catch-up
Been a few things that needed my attentionSmile

Been the best day of the years so far - only about +7C, but no breeze and plenty of warm sunshineTongue

Away for a few days toward the end of the week - we can't waitWink

Jat_Riski 9 89 United Kingdom
18 Feb 2013 8:08PM
Superb macros Carol.
18 Feb 2013 8:41PM
Stunning Carol - well done. Love V2!! GrinGrin Lou
pamelajean Plus
12 1.1k 2016 United Kingdom
18 Feb 2013 11:46PM
V2 is really good, so much pollen!
Glostopcat 12 255 2 England
18 Feb 2013 11:47PM
You've been as busy as a worker bee capturing these exceptional macro shots for us to peruse, I must say that v2 takes some beating. It's been a real hive of activity on here today!WinkGrin
19 Feb 2013 9:11AM
Wonderful detailed close-ups.

JimV 11 6 3 Canada
20 Feb 2013 3:31AM
Two fantastic shots which show so well what you have described so admirably Carol, would be invidious to pick one over the other!
Rgds., Jim
PS. Glad I'm not a bee GrinGrin
annettep38 Plus
6 218 40 Costa Rica
20 Feb 2013 9:01AM
v2 for me , love the sprinkles of pollen on him and the detail is also much better
Tibetan 5 3 England
20 Feb 2013 9:36AM
V2. spot on Carol, great shot excellent detail, love it, regards Leon.GrinGrinGrinGrinGrinGrin thanks for the information very informative GrinGrinGrinGrinGrin
Ayoob 7 Australia
20 Feb 2013 12:07PM
WONDERFUL shots , Carol...........GrinWink
21 Feb 2013 6:22AM
Both are fine.
LexEquine 12 19 United States
24 Feb 2013 11:38PM
Lovely-rendered Color Marcro's ~ Peter

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