The gathering

Honeybees need nectar, pollen and water to feed the hive and make their honey.

Beekeepers help the bees by moving the hives from time to time into areas where there is a good source of nectar and pollen. For example, where there are lots of flowers or blossoms as in an orchard or forest. Once the hives are in place some of the worker bees go out scouting. This is usually done in a radius of about one kilometre from the hives. The scouts then report back to the hive to indicate to the other bees where the nectar and pollen source is to be found. Sometimes, honeybees may have to fly several kilometres from their home to gather food supplies.

Bees cannot talk. Instead their language is one of vibration and aromas. For example, to indicate distance to other bees in the hive, the scout bee uses a loud buzz and a demonstration dance. Wings vibrating swiftly as the bee dances in a circle indicate that the find is within 100 metres of the hive. If the source is further away, the dance will be in the shape of a figure eight.

The direction in which the scout moves and at what speed also helps communicate to the others where the source is located.

Once the workers know where to go they set out to gather nectar and pollen, from sunrise to sunset. Busy bees have great stamina and carry big weights.

The nectar is carried in a special honey stomach, while the pollen is carried in separate pollen baskets on the hind legs.