Seaside and Wayside, Book One  by Julia McNair Wright

The Bee's Work

Y OU now know how the new queen bee grows and how she lives. Let us see how the work bee gets on. The work bee in its small cell does not grow so large as the queen bee. It has larger wings. When it is a true bee, it pulls or breaks off the cap of its cell and comes out. It is wet and cold and weak.

Near by is a cell, open, and full of honey. The new bee takes a nice meal. Then it goes out of the hive into the sun.

The other bees come to it, and touch it with their feelers. They lick it with their tongues, to smooth its brown coat, and help it to spread its wings.

Then off it goes to get honey and flower dust. It knows how at once. It does not need to learn.

It finds its way. It knows the right flowers. It tries to keep out of the way of things that will hurt it.

What color do the bees like best? They like blue best, and red and purple next best. They like flowers with a sweet smell, and all flowers that have honey.

They bring home dust of flowers, honey, and a kind of gum. The gum is to line the cells and to help make them strong.

If a queen bee dies, and all the baby queens are also dead, what can the bees do? They take a baby work bee and make a queen. Can they not live if they have no queen? No, not long; there will be no eggs laid.

How do they make a queen of a work bee? They pick out a good grub. They put it into a round queen cell.

They feed the work grub with the queen-food, or "royal jelly." When it grows up, it is not a work bee, but is a queen.