Seaside and Wayside, Book One  by Julia McNair Wright

The Bee Babies

A BEE does not live more than three or four years. The work bees know that some of the grubs must grow to be queens, others to be drones, and others work bees. They make for the baby queen bee a large, round cell.

In each hive there are five or six cells for these baby queens.

The nurse bees feed the grubs. They give the baby queens all they can eat of very nice food. The grub of the new queen bee grows large, and eats as much as it wants.

The work-bee babies are in small cells. Their food is plain bee-bread. They are fed less than the queen-grubs. Then shut in their tight cells they turn into work bees.

After a time the grubs shut in the big cells turn into queen bees. They begin to sing a song.

The queen bee hears it. She knows that more queen bees will come out.

That makes her angry.

She runs at the cells, to try to kill the new queens. The work bees all stand in her way. They will not let her kill the new queens.

There can be only one queen in a hive at one time. So the old queen says, "Come! I will go away! I will not live here any more!"


First Flight

Many of the old bees say, "We will go with our queen." Then they fly out of the hive in a cloud. They wish to find a new home.

Did you ever see bees swarm? They may fly far away, or they may light near by. They hang on a vine, or branch, or stick, like a bunch of grapes. Can you put them into a new hive? Yes, but you must put the queen in, too. They will not live where there is no queen mother.

Drop them softly into a new hive where there is a piece of honey-comb. In a few hours they are calm. Then they go to work.

The work bees begin to make cells. They spread wax. They build walls.

If a young bee lays a bit of wax wrong, some old one takes it up and lays it right.