Break On Through (To The Other Side)

What exciting occurrence is pictured below?It's the emergence of worker bees—the next generation. In the shot above, you can see three different cells being chewed open by bees preparing to enter the world. Today, while working in Hive Orange, I had the privilege of witnessing this emergence for the first time. I'd seen drones make their exit before, but never the workers.

Below, you can see one girl almost finished chewing her way out. Beside her, another worker is just beginning to break on through (to the other side). Below these cells is a recently vacated cell; note the ragged, chewed-out edge. Also, see how fuzzy the fully emerged bees are? These are very likely newly emerged bees whose first assignment upon leaving the cell is to clean it so it can be re-purposed for storing new eggs, pollen, or nectar. Here's a closeup of a worker chewing her way out.
A worker's first few weeks of life are devoted to "house duties": cleaning cells, attending to the queen, feeding the larvae, producing wax and shaping it into comb, capping the nectar once it transmutes to honey, etc. Later, she'll move on to guard duty toward the front of the hive and ultimately, she'll become a field bee foraging for nectar.

What must it feel like to be a honeybee, newly emerging as a winged being, eying the world for the first time? Of course, most bees are born in darkness deep within the brood-nest of the hive. I guess you could say this girl was lucky, born into a nice view of mountain green and summer-blue sky. By the time she's ready for her first forays out of the hive a few weeks from now, the mountains will be stippled with the colors of autumn.


Anonymous said...

Fascinating all the process! Sometimes, I would like to be a bee, just to know what to do with my life without thinking too much. Thoughts, as zen says, don't do nothing.

By the way, is it true that if bees dissapear, the world will dissapear too?


Gerry Gomez Pearlberg said...

Yes, the world worth knowing will disappear if we destroy the bees.

I too would like to be a honeybee! Maybe if we are good in this life, we can become bees in the next life.