Intimate little creatures, aren't they? Is this bonding in the hive? Well, it is actually a forager (right) handing (or 'mouthing') over a load of nectar to a food storer (left). The food storer has her proboscis extended, and is sucking the nectar out of the crop of the forager.
A commercial beehive, when opened at the top, looks like this. The bees live on the frames provided for them.
A frame inside a hive looks like this. The yellowish covering in the middle of the frame are caps for brood. The covering at the top left corner indicates a store of honey. Yes, we wear protective gear when handling a frame.
At the centre of attention is the queen bee, which is much larger than workers, and lives much longer. The sole jobs of the queen are to mate and lay eggs. She typically mates with over 10 drones, which means that most of the worker bees are half sisters of one another.
Drones, male bees, develop from unfertilised eggs. They basically serve as a source of sperm. They do sweet bugger all all their lives, except that some of them get to mate with a queen.
Workers do everything that needs to be done in the hive. This includes feeding the brood, cleaning out cells, attending the queen, capping brood, receiving and storing food (nectar and pollen), repairing the hive, guarding the hive, and last but not least, foraging. Workers do all the jobs, at different stages in their lives, generally starting in the interior and finishing with foraging out in the wide, wide world. Thus, the honeybees we see on flowers are in their last days of life.
This one has gathered baskets of pollen on her legs.
This one is packing pollen for storage.
These foragers are gathering water, which is also essential for the well being of the hive.
A close-up view of the proboscis, the organ with which a worker bee sucks up nectar and water.
And away we go to work!
This fellow and the one below are works of Robert Fillingham of Magic Frog X, displayed with the author's permission. I am afraid that I do not know where the artist is now in cyberworld or in the physical world.