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Who run the world? Girls!

Happy International Women’s Day! We know we’re a few days early, but well, who run the world? Girls!

Has anyone else noticed how so much of the world outside of humans has female influences? Take chickens for instance - we’re not getting eggs from roosters, are we? And honey bees, now that’s a matriarchal society.

Now that it’s winter, the honey bees colonies are 100% female. No drones (male bees) are invited to stay in the hive through the winter. And by not invited, we mean forcefully ejected from the hive. Before winter even starts. Rude, right? 

It’s a phenomenon called “drone eviction”. But before we anthropomorphize them too much, we have to remember that these honey bees have their own way of doing things.

For instance, once worker bees (all sisters) reach a certain age, they head out foraging. When they return, they unload their nectar and feed it to a house bee, which feeds it to another house bee higher up in the hive, closer to where the nectar is stored. 

This process repeats a few times, each bee holding the nectar in her honey stomach until finally releasing it into a honeycomb cell. This bee behavior of feeding mouth to mouth is known as trophallaxis. Sounds gross, right?

But this process is important! Many of the enzymes and probiotics found in honey that are highly beneficial come from this nectar transfer. Bees also have a microbiome, or a group of helpful bacteria that assist with food digestion, and these probiotics are infused into the nectar, adding more benefit to the honey.

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