The Scout Bee – Backbone of the hive and the foundation of the colony

Bee’s are definitely one of mother nature’s greatest gifts to mankind and to herself. Honey probably comes to your mind when you first think of bees, and perhaps the painful stings you’ve endured from getting too close to a bee hive. But that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface when it comes to thinking about the different ways in which bees help us and how we would be lost without them.

Bee’s impact on our lifestyle is more than just elemental. We obtain a wide array of products including bees wax, nectar and various cosmetic products with the help of bees and their hives. Furthermore, bees help to pollinate the flowers of plants thereby playing a key and vital role in the reproductive life of a plant.

It might come as a surprise to some people, how a large population of seemingly chaotic insects are able to achieve a lot more than what they were intended for. The answer lies in the order and discipline that is deeply ingrained into every single member of the hive.

Every bee, whether it is the queen, a worker or a drone, has it’s own responsibilities and duties. Slacking off is simply not an option for these mini-sized hard workers. The different classes, or more indigenously called castes, of bees have their own morphological differences which helps them better function in their pre-assigned roles.

The worker bees for instance are small, nimble and agile giving them great mobility to move in and around the crooks and corners of the hive. The drones have powerful flight muscles helping them cover the surveillance area much more faster and efficiently. The queen has a larger than normal size abdomen which aids her in laying her own body weight in eggs every day.

Even if a single class of bees decides to take the day off from work, the entire hive would fall into chaos and subsequently collapse. Thus every single bee, among thousands of it’s brothers and sisters, though it may seem insignificant, has its own purpose and role to play in the well oiled machinery which is the hive. Every bee, though strong in its own responsibility, depends on its brothers and sisters to help it with other things. For example, the drone bee, equipped with powerful flight muscles and large eyes, is best suited for surveillance and recon. However it depends on the worker bees to feed it, clean it and take care of it. The worker bees in turn depend on the drones to accurately report enemy attacks or maybe a viable field of flowers and to mate with the queen bee so as to preserve the colony.

Thus each bee depends on the other bees of the colony for its survival. This is what enables the colony to function successfully and in co-ordination.

Among such classes of bees, is another highly important caste, the scout bees. The scout bees are a type of worker bee. These scout bees form what is essentially the backbone of the colony by performing several important roles. Some of which include :

– Surveillance dutiesĀ 

Searching for new access to food and looking for new places to establish a brand new colony are the primary roles of a scouter bee.

– Scent communication

– Ritualistic communication by dancing.

Thus every single bee performs an integral role in the proper functioning of the colony. Whether the life span of a bee ranges from a couple of weeks (as in the case of drones) or to several years (some queen bees), the bees end their lives knowing that they’ve done their part in helping the propagation of their hive and consequently their species.