What is a honey bee? – Who has never consumed honey produced by honey bees? Of course most of Sinaumed’s must have consumed and even experienced the benefits contained in honey, right? As Sinaumed’s knows, honey itself is produced or produced by an insect-type animal called a bee. Sinaumed’s needs to know that not all types of bees can produce honey that can be consumed by humans!
Indeed, bees are often associated with honey, but that does not mean that all types of bees can produce honey that can and is safely consumed by humans or other living things. To be able to produce honey that can be consumed by humans or other living things, honey must be produced or produced by special bees. What is meant by this particular bee is a bee whose species or type is intended to produce honey that can be consumed by humans or even consumed by other living things. Well, this particular type of bee is a bee commonly known as a honey bee or which in scientific language is known as Apis.
Actually, there are a lot of things that Sinaumed’s needs to know about this type of bee, starting from what a honey bee is, the types of honey bees, the history of the discovery of honey bee species, the stages in a honey bee colony and their respective duties, how bees honey reproduces, how do honey bees make honey, and many other things related to honey bees. For this reason, on this occasion we provide information that will increase Sinaumed’s’ knowledge so that you know more about honey bees, flying insects that can produce sweet honey that is rich in properties. Check out this article until the end!
A. What is a Honey Bee?
Before studying and understanding more deeply about one of the many species of bees, namely the honey bee, Sinaumed’s must first become acquainted with honey bees, right? As the saying goes, don’t know then don’t love.
Yep! Most of Sinaumed’s probably already know that bees are the only insect of the many types of flying insects that can produce honey in large quantities so that it can be consumed by humans or even other living things. Do you know Sinaumed’s? Honey bees come from a genus called the genus Apis. Sinaumed’s needs to know that this one flying insect besides being able to produce honey which has many benefits, it can also produce pollen or it can also be called pollen, produce propolis or what is known as bee glue, produce beeswax which usually blends with honey, and also can produce poison or commonly known as a bee sting to protect itself from the threat of predators. Wow, that’s a lot too!
Honey bees themselves are known to have many types that are spread throughout the world, but there are only a few types of honey bees that are usually cultivated to be used as a producer of honey which will later be consumed by humans. There is a detailed explanation of the species of honey bees and the classification of honey bees that Sinaumed’s can study.
Honey-producing bees or honey bees are known to include approximately seven types or species of bees belonging to the genus Apis. Within the genus Apis itself, it can be estimated that there are approximately 20,000 species in it. According to the information we got, it is now known that there is a subspecies of bees that are known to be able to store honey from flower nectar and produce honey. The number of these subspecies is around 44 subspecies that exist throughout the world.
Interesting info here! Honey bees make their nests with the basic ingredients of wax or what is commonly known as wax. Wax or wax is produced by bees called worker bees in honey bee colonies. What are worker bees? So surely that question immediately popped up in Sinaumed’s’ mind, right? Don’t worry, later we will tell Sinaumed’s about worker bees in a honey bee colony.
For the classification of honey bees, it can be explained by the kingdom or kingdom of honey bees is Animalia, the phylum of honey bees is arthropods, the sub phylum of honey bees is mandibulata, the class of honey bees is class Insecta or insects, the sub class of honey bees is pterygota, the order of honey bees are hymenoptera, the suborder of honey bees is cheistograsta, the family of honey bees is apidea, and the last species of honey bees are apis dorsata, apis mellifera, apis cerana, and apis trigona.
B. Types of Honey Bee Species
After Sinaumed’s became acquainted with honey bees, the next step was for us to invite Sinaumed’s to find out about several types of honey bees in Indonesia and the bees that are most often used for honey cultivation by bee farmers in Indonesia.
1. Giant Honey Bee (Apis Dorsata)
The giant honey bee, also known as the wild bee, has the Latin name Apis Dorsata, which is the first type of honey bee species. Honey bees with this species are only found in forests in countries that have tropical Asian and subtropical climates. As the name suggests, the giant honey bee has the largest size compared to the size of bees from other species. For the original habitat or original origin of honey bees with this species, it is spread throughout the territory of the State of Indonesia, the State of Singapore, the State of Malaysia, to the Philippines.
For self-cultivation, it is known that there has been no cultivation action for this species of honey bees. Why is that? According to some statements from beekeepers, this type of honey bee has very wild characteristics and tends to be difficult to tame. Apart from its wild nature, this type of honey bee also has a honey bee body size which is certainly larger than the body size of other types of honey bees. Due to the larger body size of this type of honey bee, the level of pain from the sting it has is also more painful than other types of honey bees.
For the production of honey from this type of honey bee, they still use the method of taking or harvesting it directly from the forest. Giant honey bees will usually make a nest in a single way and the nest hangs on a tree branch, or maybe they will make a nest on a cliff. To increase the production of honey from the giant honey bees themselves, in one bee colony it can reach around 50 kg to 60 kg for one tree.
2. Western Honey Bee (Apis Mellifera)
The western honey bee, also known as the superior bee, which has the Latin name Apis Mellifera, is the second type of honey bee species. This western honey bee was first introduced and included as a type of honey bee species in Indonesia around 1841, until now western honey bees continue to be bred for cultivation.
Sinaumed’s needs to know that this type of honey bee is a favorite of beekeepers. Why is that? This is because giant honey bees are able to produce honey in large quantities, that is, in one colony it can reach around 35 kg to 40 kg in one year. Not only for that reason, giant honey bees have much better adaptability to weather and climate than other honey bees, this makes it very easy for beekeepers to cultivate this type of western honey bee.
For the distribution area of the western honey bee itself, it is spread around the mainland of the European Continent, such as between the regions of the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Greece, and various countries belonging to the Mediterranean Continent region.
3. Eastern Honey Bee (Apis Cerana)
Eastern honey bees or also known as local bees have the Latin name Apis Cerana. Eastern honey bees live and spread in almost all parts of Indonesia. For the amount of honey produced, one eastern honey bee colony is capable of producing as much as 6 kg to 12 kg of honey within one year.
4. Dwarf Honey Bee (Apis Trigona/Florea)
Dwarf honey bees or also known as bees with the Latin name Apis Florea are the last type of honey bee species. As the name suggests, pygmy honey bees have the smallest body size of honey bees compared to the size of other types of honey bees. Dwarf honey bees tend to be more docile and fortunately these bees do not have a sting like other types of honey bees.
For honey production from honey bees with this type of dwarf honey bee, the honey production tends to be the least compared to honey production from other types of honey bees. In a colony of pygmy honey bees can only produce and produce honey weighing 1 kg to 3 kg in one year.
For the distribution of these dwarf honey bees, they have habitats or are spread across the territory of the Arabian Peninsula, Pakistan, Bangladesh and even Indonesia. In Indonesia itself, the pygmy honey bee is more familiarly known as the Klanceng wasp.
C. Levels of Honey Bees and Their Duties
After getting to know and learning about several types of honey bees that are spread in Indonesia, now is the time for Sinaumed’s to know about the levels or types of honey bees that exist in a colony along with the tasks of each level in a honey bee colony.
As explained earlier, honey bees are flying insects that have social characteristics, so honey bees live in colonies or groups. In one honey bee colony, it is known that there are 10,000 to 60,000 honey bees. Wow so many, right?
In one honey bee colony it is known to have levels or what can be called three types of family members. The three types of honey bee family members have their respective roles and duties which are useful for the survival of the bee colony. In the following, we will explain the three family members in a honey beb colony along with their respective roles.
1. Queen Bee
The queen bee is the only female bee which plays an important role in the survival of a honey bee colony. Why is that? This is because in a honey bee colony there is only one female bee which becomes the queen bee. If in a colony there are two queen bees, the two queen bees will fight until one of the two queen bees dies, or also until one of the two queen bees leaves the hive of the honey bee colony.
The queen bee has characteristics that can be said to be very striking, such as the queen bee has a stomach that tends to be longer than the other bees, the queen bee has a relatively longer size and the wings are shorter compared to the body parts. In addition, the queen bee has a larger chest size compared to worker bees, and the final feature of the queen bee is that the head of the queen bee is shaped differently from other bees, which is round in shape.
The life of the queen bee is very different from worker bees or male bees. Why is that? The queen bee never looks for her own food and is always served by worker bees. The life span of the queen bee is known to be longer than that of other bees, which is almost 4 to 6 years. The queen bee’s job during her life is just to lay eggs and enlarge the bee colony and increase the number of honey bees hatching.
2. Male Bee (Drone)
The number of male bees in a honey bee colony is only around 100. Male bees have the main task or main task of marrying the queen bee. Not just any male bee dares to marry the queen bee, only adult male bees dare to marry the queen bee. The mating process between male bees and queen bees is carried out by flying as high as possible when the weather is very sunny. The male bees then chase the queen bee, only the male bees that can chase the queen bee are able to marry the queen bee.
After the mating process between the male bees and the queen bee occurs, the male bee will automatically or soon die because the testicles have detached from the body and fused with the queen bee’s ovary organs. After that, the bodies of the male bees will automatically become food for the worker bees.
Male bees have several special characteristics, in shape and size they are almost similar to queen bees, but male bees have relatively slimmer bodies and have large, touching eyes located above the heads of male bees.
3. Worker Bees
In a honey bee colony it is known that there are 30,000 to 60,000 worker bees. Worker bees themselves have several characteristics that distinguish them from the queen bee and the drone bees. The characteristics of the worker bees are the body size of the worker bees which can be said to be the smallest when compared to the body sizes of the queen bee and the male bee. It has a head shape with a triangular shape with long hairy hind legs. Make no mistake, the long hairs on the bee’s legs are useful as a storage place for pollen when worker bees are flying in search of food. Here are some other tasks that worker bees have.
- In charge of building a beehive as a place to lay eggs for the queen bee.
- In charge of collecting food materials in the form of nectar, water, and pollen.
- In charge of giving and foraging for male bees and queen bees.
- In charge of tidying and cleaning beehives.
- In charge of producing honey.
- In charge of maintaining the safety of beehives.
D. How Honey Bees Produce Honey
Interesting info, worker bees are female bees that don’t become queens. Worker bees have an important role in collecting flower nectar which will later be produced into honey. The following is the method or process of worker bees making honey.
1 Hunt and Gather Nectar
Worker bees will start flying as far as 6 km to 8 km to find nectar or flower extract which will later be produced into honey.
2. Turning Nectar Into Honey
Afterwards, the nectar will be processed into honey by being chewed by the worker bees, the worker bees will produce enzymes that can increase the acidity level in the nectar and turn it into honey.
3. Dry honey after chewing
After that the bees will dry the nectar that has become honey. The bees use two methods to dry the honey, namely by spreading the semi-finished honey to the honeycomb which has a hexagon shape and the second is by fanning the semi-finished honey using its wings.
4. Protect Honey with Beeswax
The final step is the honey storage process, this process is carried out by storing honey in the cells in the beehive. To be able to maintain the quality of honey, bees use beeswax produced by bees.
Now that’s some knowledge about all things about honey bees that Sinaumed’s can know and learn. Lots right? Starting from an introduction to honey bees, getting to know their types, so they know how bees produce honey.
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