HABITS. All bees feed, when adult, on saccha rine juices, particularly the nectar of flowers: but the larva are fed by their elders on 'bee-bread,' which consists of the pollen of flowers collected by the bees and made into small masses. They begin their search with the opening of flowers in the spring, and do not cease it until the wither ing of the last blossoms in the fall compel the insects to desist and to go into winter quarters, where the social species have stored a supply of honey in a series of small waxen chambers or `cells; combined into 'combs,' upon which they subsist until spring, while the solitary species, which do not lay up such stores, mostly die; but their larva, snugly placed in burrows, or other concealed or parasitic situations, remain quies cent until the return of warm weather, when they emerge. These remarks apply to the colder climates; in the tropics winter is not to be feared, but extensive droughts must he provided against. it is the habit of bees to devote their searching to a single sort of flower as long as it serves their purpose, each individual visiting blossom after blossom of that kind, instead of searching flowers indiscriminately; and to this habit is due the great service they accomplish in cross-fertilization. See POLLINATION.
Feeding.—To enable them (or such, here after described, as do this work) to reach tbeir liquid food in the neetaries, usually at the bot tom of tube-like flowers, the bees have developed to the highest degree the prolonged mouth-parts or 'proboscis' characteristic of hymenopterans, and the extensile ligula or 'tongue' is hairy, and terminates in a little spoon-like part, by which the nectar is brushed or lapped out of its recep tacles and conveyed into the mouth. Here it is partly swallowed into a dilatation of the agus, analogous to a bird's crop, and called the `crop' or 'honey-bag,' where it is 'ripened' into honey (q.v.). When enough has been obtained, it is disgorged either as food for those of the com munity which remain at home in the nest, or to be stored in the comb-cells of those species which lay up winter stores. The mouth of bees is also employed for cutting and tearing, and to this purpose their upper jaws are especially adapted. The bumblebees thus open their way into the tubes of flowers which are so deep and narrow that they cannot otherwise reach the nectar at the bottom. Others make use of their mandibles to cut out portions of leaves, or of the petals of flowers, to form or line their nests; the hive bee uses them in working with wax, in feeding larva with pollen, in cleaning out cells, in tear ing to pieces old combs, in combats, and in all the great variety of purposes for which organs of prehension are required.
But it is not by means of any of the organs connected with the mouth that bees collect and carry to their nests the supplies of pollen need ful for their young. The feathered hairs with
which their bodies are partly clothed, and par ticularly those with which their legs are fur nished, serve for the purpose of collecting the pollen, which adheres to them, and it is brushed into a hollow on the outer surface of the first joint of the tarsus of each of the hinder pair of legs, this joint being therefore very large, com pressed, and of a square or triangular forma conformation to which nothing similar is found in any other family of insects. This hollow re eeptaele is known as the eorbiculum or 'pollen basket'; and in the social bees it is possessed only by the workers, since the perfect males (drones) and females (queens) never collect pollen.
Faculties.—Bees possess a very high devel opment of the nervous system, brain, and senses. The great compound eyes, as well as the ocelli, characteristic of the higher hymenopterans, are here as highly developed as anywhere—perhaps higher—and bees depend greatly upon their eyes for information, observing carefully the situa tion of their home or any other place to which they may wish to return when leaving it for the first time, then rising in higher and larger circles until they catch sight of some landmark, when they strike straight toward it through the air; hence the proverbial phrase, 'a bee-line.' Their visual sense of form and color must be well advanced also, and the bearing of this upon the development of color and form in blossoms is a matter of very curious interest and of much importance in the history of the mutual develop ment of these insects and the plants they fre quent. They are able, niso, to guide their move ments in the dark as accurately as in the full light of day—at least within the nest or hive; and this power is generally ascribed to the an tenna., or 'feelers,' which are supposed to be not merely delicate organs of touch, but also organs of hearing or of smell. It is certain that the social bees communicate with each other by means of their antenna, and that they avail themselves of these organs for their ordinary operations, for recognition of each other, and for what may be called the conduct of the affairs of the hive. There can be no doubt that bees possess in a high degree the sense of smell; and their possession of the senses of taste and hear ing is almost equally unquestionable, whatever difficulty there may be in determining the par ticular organs of the latter sense. The degree of development of these senses differs not only among the various families, but in the several forms of each species; thus a male honey bee has 13,000 facets in each eye, while the workers have only 6000; and Cheshire calculates that one antenna of a male has 37,000 olfactory cavi ties, while a worker's antenna has only about 2500.