Seaside and Wayside, Book One  by Julia McNair Wright

The Bee at Home

L ET us look at a work bee. There are two kinds of work bees. Nurse bees take care of the baby bees. The wax bees build the house.

Let us look well at the wax bee. See its body. Here are the rings, and here are the scales of wax on each ring. The wax is made in the bee from the honey or sweet food that the bee eats.

In the bee's body are two bags. Into one bag it puts the honey that it gets from flowers. It takes this home and puts it into the cells. What goes into the other bag feeds the bee and makes wax.

Look at this bee's legs. On each leg is a basket, a brush, and a tool with which to pinch and press the wax into the cells.

When the bee goes into a flower, it gets covered with pollen-dust. The brush on its legs takes off this dust from the bee's coat and puts it into the basket. That dust is to feed the young bees.


Sweets to the Sweet

With the tool it strips the scales of wax from the rings on its body. Then it takes the wax in its mouth and lays it to build the wall of the cells.

Did you ever see a man lay brick on a wall? The bee builds her walls very much as the man builds his.

When the work bees make cells, they first lay down a thick sheet of wax. Then they build upon this little wax boxes, each with six sides, set close to each other. When the boxes are as deep as they should be, the bees fill them. These boxes are called cells.

Some of the cells are for the dust, or food, called bee-bread. Some cells are for the baby bees to lie in. Some cells are for honey.

The queen puts eggs in all the cells that are for bees. The nurse bees put in flower dust for the baby bees to eat.

The wax bees build the cells and get honey. The wax bees have pockets for wax. The nurse bees have only small pockets or baskets. The queen bee and the drones have no pockets.