Honey bees, like other bees, are wild rather than domesticated. The species would survive in the wild state without any interference from man and its behavior would continue to be unchanged. Any success man has attained in utilizing honey bees for their productivity is the result of his close study of their natural instincts and behavior. He has used this knowledge to develop management practices that permit him to operate them for his own benefit.
All bees, including the honey bee, have branched hairs covering their bodies. This is one of the important characteristics that distinguishes bees from other insects. These branched hairs become dusted with pollen grains as they visit the flowers. The pollen of a different flower of the same species usually competes well in the fertilization process with pollen from the flower being pollinated. Since a bee may visit 100 to 400 blossoms during each trip to the field, cross- pollination is effected by distribution of pollen grains from the anthers of one flower to the stigma of another.
Many plants with perfect flowers, that is bearing both anthers and stigma, are self-sterile to their own pollen; in others the mate and female flowers are produced on different plants; and in others the male and female blossoms are separate on the same plant. All three situations make bees essential to the production of seed and fruit. Even self-fertile plants are usually more productive when crosspollinated.
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