Inside the Bee hive with honey bee’s and an introduction to Diseases of Fish (Day 163)

Vet School Puffer Fish - Diseases of fish

Today’s Diary Entry is sponsored by Pet Webinars

Well today started with Diseases of Bee’s which has a excellent lecturer, we moved to a new larger classroom today and were greeted by a beehive (minus the bee’s!). The modern beehive is generally a wooden box with a loose lid and loose base which can be easily stack-able. Inside this box there are frames held vertically with a honeycomb lining made from wax like this…

Beehive wax honeycombe frame vet school
Honeycomb frame from a beehive

Worker bee’s produce two products, honey, and beeswax (which is what the honeycomb framework is made from). The honey is stored within the cells in the wax honeycomb with the bee’s sealing the entrance to the cell with a layer of wax as in the picture below.

Vet School honeycomb frame with honey in sealed wax cells
Honeycomb with honey in sealed cells

The honeycomb is also important for the production of new bee’s as the queen bee will lay her eggs in the cells (one egg to one cell). To understand this I should probably explain how the colony is organised. There are 3 types of bee’s within a colony:

  • Queen – Each colony only has a single queen that usually lives 3 – 5 years and is responsible for laying egg’s, and in addition to ensuring that no other queen females reach adulthood. The queen is diploid.
  • Worker Bee’s – These are the females in the colony and perform the function of harvesting pollen, building the honeycomb and creating the honey These are also diploid in terms of genetics.
  • Drone Bee’s – These are the males in the colony and are responsible for the general housekeeping, fertilising the eggs and looking after the young. These are haploid in terms of genetics and are actually kicked out of the colony at winter!

So the queen bee uses the wax honeycomb to lay eggs which are then sealed with wax by the drone bee’s. The worker bee’s after collecting pollen turn it into honey and fill the cells of the honeycomb with it sealing it in. The production (or reproduction) of bee’s is something I will look at more next time I write about bee’s as I must get onto some fish now!

This was followed by Diseases of Fish, this week we continued working our way through the massive taxonomy list of fish species. As I did not introduce this last week I’ll look at some general background. Fish are cold-blooded (the technical term for this is poikilotherms) typically with backbones, gills and fins. Fish make up around 57% of all living animals with around 27,977 species with the smallest being Paedocypris progenetica measuring 7.9mm long, and the largest being the whale shark Rhincodon typus which measures 12m long and weighs 12 tonnes!

Now fish can live in temperatures from -2 degrees Celsius in Antarctic waters through to 40 degrees Celsius in hot springs. They live in areas from 5km above sea level, and as discovered in 2007 through to 25,000 feet deep water (the snailfish).They range from pretty coloured through to the pretty intimidating looking.

Vet School Puffer Fish - Diseases of fish

In terms of the taxonomy. Fish belong to the domain Eukaryota, the kingdom Animalia, subkingdom Eumetazoa, superphylum Deuterostomia, phylum Chordata. Within this there are several different subphylums, superclasses, classes and species which I’ve got to learn for my exam in just 6 weeks time! With that I will leave you until tomorrow!