Grazing with bees

Experts claim that ‘’scout bees’’ account for 27,3% of total number of bees, and the main burden of making honey falls on their backs. The speed of bringing nectar between “scout bees” and “nurse bees” is different and ranges from 20 seconds to several minutes, which is especially increased during intensive grazing, when scout bees have to find a large number of receiver bees. Of course, the facts remains that number of scouting flights is purely relative, and depends on large number of factors. Still, there is a way to determine an approximate value of given biological-seasonal state of bee colony. The information about the number of scouting flights is expressed in the form of a number doesn’t mean much in practice. It is important to conclude that it is necessary to have as much as possible bees in the hive to receive nectar, that is, bees most appropriate in age (physiological state), so that in the case when larger number of receiver bees is necessary they could easily help, and increase the degree of graze usage.

When the grazing is most intense, bees fill their honey sack with 60-70 mg (nectar is received by 10-12 receiver bees). Of course, sack filled with 70 mg of honey can only be filled by bees raised on honey and pollen, and not on sugar and various replacements for pollen, in a strong colony, and only those bees can be cold productive. Out of all this is states that every receiver bee takes about 6-7 mg of nectar (because that is the amount she is capable to process). Upon receiving nectar, receiver bee partially shares it with other bees in the hive.

When collecting nectar, it was apparent that bees fill their honey sack more from grazes that are further away.

Bee starts to graze with a certain food reserve in honey stomach, necessary for flight. Apart from that, in its body there are other reserves of energy: glycogen in muscles and fat tissue, trehalose (transparent sugar in hemolymph which is comprised of two molecules of glucose). Researchers determined that grazing bees gather nectar with minimal energy expense. In special conditions, when there is a lot of easily available nectar in nature, bees apply different strategy. Such grazes usually and suddenly disappear (forest grazing). In available time, bees suck the biggest amount possible of nectar without taking care of energy expense. Bees get exhausted like that, because in short time bee collects a lot of honey. It is very probable that this strategy is responsible for the loss of scout bees in forest graze. Above mentioned strategies are not that different. In both cases bees bring less nectar from nearby grazes compared to distant grazes. But in the case of second strategy, bees from nearby grazes collect more honey than they would collect using other strategy with minimal energy expense. Exact reasons for the change of strategy are not clear. The choice the bees make is probably influenced by fatigue caused by flying and the quality of the graze.