Time on the inside (of a hive) consists of regimen and repetition and more repetition.
During Glory’s first few hours and days, her sisters (intuitively enough this phase includes being fed by “nurse” bees) must feed her. They begin these feedings in the first few hours. The bonding that takes place, a kind of imprinting, sets a tone for the rest of her life. The nurse bees fill her stomach with pollen proteins because honey bees are not born with microorganisms or food in their gut. Without feedings in the first few hours, their life span is shorter. The girls need this extra protein for the first five days, and they will continue to beg their sisters for food. Glory chases one particular sister, Angela, for the extra food she wants. Glory pulls at Angela’s legs and the end of her wings in a playful, irritating way little sisters do. Angela gives in begging for Glory to stop.
Angela: “Hey! Hey now little Princess. I have others to care for. You are ready to work now. You can follow me but no begging. Begin by cleaning the cells—start with your birthing room here.”
Angela directs the young bee to the cell she was born in.
Glory: “OH Ang. Gimme another, just a snippet. Just a lil’ of that Sunflower pollen I love so much.”
Angela presses her mouth to the begging child, and offers a morsel of food.
After feeling the warm food melt inside of her belly, she yawns again and goes right to work. She begins by cleaning her own cell. She pulls out the tiny bedding, left over crumbs from incubation feedings, and then she polishes the walls of the suite. She begins carefully at the bottom and works her way up all six sides making sure the interior is ready for inspection. Her tiny bee arms are tired, but she does not quit. She moves to the next cell, which has been cleaned by another newly born sister. Poking her head into the space, she sees that nothing has been missed. She continues to inspect and clean cells until she is introduced to other tasks.
Worker bee activities include organizational factors that determine what task a bee will perform. Called age polyethism, worker bees specialize at different tasks as they grow older.
Stay tuned for the next chapter in Glory’s young life! We’re so excited to share her adventures with you all.