Image for Bee dynasty

Bee dynasty

Duration: 06:03

David Attenborough talks about evolution of the bees. When flowering plants evolved some types of wasp evolved into the bees to make use of their nectar. A queen bumblebee goes in search of a hole to make a new home. She makes a nest of beeswax - a substance no wasp can make. Her daughters take over the building and feeding of a thriving colony, and the queen keeps them in line with pheromones - chemical signals that supresses her daughters' sexuality. The daughters tend the nest and gather nectar and pollen, which is rich in protein. By the end of summer the queen has stopped producing her ant-reproduction hormones, because she needs to lay queen and drone eggs. The downside is that her existing daughters also start to lay eggs, which the queen destroys, but a few will develop into males. Eventually the queen loses control of the colony, her daughters attack her and she is stung to death. None of the workers will survive the winter, only the new queens.

Available since: Thu 30 Jul 2009

Credits

Key talent
David ATTENBOROUGH
Editor-in-chief
Mike SALISBURY
Producer
Stephen DUNLEAVY
Camera Operator
Keith BRUST
Camera Operator
Rod CLARKE
Camera Operator
Martin DOHRN
Camera Operator
Alastair MACEWEN
Camera Operator
Peter NEARHOS
Camera Operator
Tim SHEPHERD
Camera Operator
Gavin THURSTON

This clip is from

Life in the Undergrowth SUPERSOCIETIES

Some invertebrates overcome the limitation of their small size by banding together in huge numbers to form societies which operate like superorganisms

First broadcast: 21 Dec 2005

Image for SUPERSOCIETIES Not currently available on BBC iPlayer

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss