IELTS Reading Practice Test 11

IELTS Reading Practice Test 11

Reading Passage 3

Questions 29-40

Honey bee, or apis mellifera is a fascinating insect. They live in big families or swarms. These swarms have historically been created in varying climatic and geographical zones which caused a great variety among them. Natural selection ensured gradual improvement of the species. Eventually the biological differences shaped into the honey bees that inhabit the Earth today. There are roughly three types of honey bees, each having defined duties and responsibilities.

The Working Bee

The vast majority of bees in the hive are females. In the course of evolution they have been depraved of the ability to mate with male bees, and therefore, procreate. Neither their deteriorated reproductive organs nor the size of their bodies allow that. However, female bees retained their maternal instincts which makes offspring of the hive their prime concern. They have gained and in the evolutionary course greatly developed other qualities important for a family member — they feel the urge to build shelter and to gather food for future use, ensure that the larvae (the offspring) are satiated, their hive is warm and well-protected from intruders. The working bee does everything to make the hive function properly.

The Queen
A queen bee, sideview
The queen bee

The queen does not normally leave the hive. There are several occasion when it does so — one of them is the period of chastity to search for mating partners. It makes its first venture out of the hive to scout the surroundings, usually during the warm and quiet mornings hours while drone bees are still inside the nest. The only other times the queen leaves her nest is for mating rituals. This usually corresponds with the period when young bees go out to learn the vicinity of their hive for their future pollination duties. The queen can go as far as 7 kilometres way from the apiary. At such distance from her home she is likely to encounter drones from other families, reducing the chances of inbreeding.

A newly-born queen is yet considered to be the supreme mother of the bee family as she isn’t fertile at this point. It is only after several days pass that she reaches puberty and with it the ability to lay eggs after mating with drones. After her first mating eggs start growing inside her bosom, her belly grows larger, she turns bulky and cumbersome. The queen becomes slow, her movement — paced and gracious. The queen resides in empty honeycombs that she uses to lay eggs into. Those eggs are of two types — fertilized and unfertilized. The former give life to female specimen — working bees and other queens, while the latter bring male, or drones. The queen is the cornerstone insect of the hive, regulating the pace at which it functions, its population and prosperity. The queen is the sole ruler of the bee society.

However the queen bee is nothing without her humble servants. She won’t be able to lay an egg unless the worker bees prepare a honeycomb for it. She is totally reliant on worker bees for food and protection because her size doesn’t allow to either provide for or defend herself. It is the ultimate goal for any bee to ensure that the queen is safe, happy and has everything in abundance. And that isn’t surprising — if the queen dies the whole societal structure of the hive collapses. That is why whenever a queen falls ill the bees grow agitated and promptly hatch another queen by feeding a larva with royal jelly exclusively.

The Drone
Drone bee, sideview
Drone bee

Drones are hatched at the end of spring when the hive has enough strength to start swarming. Drones are male bees whose primary and only goal is fertilizing the queen. Without them bees would not be able to procreate, so technically they are as important as the queen. Bees try to hatch as many drones as they can sustain to insure female impregnation. They spare no expense at bringing drones up — a growing drone eats up to six times more than a worker bee. Adult drone consumes even more bee and bee bread.

Drones usually mate in the air at an altitude of up to 25-30 meters. They can travel up to 7 kilometers away from their hive to find a mating partner so they require acute sense of smell to track a bee queen down as well as sharp eyesight and strength to see and catch her. A drone’s eye has up to eight thousand facets compared to only four or five thousand of a worker bee. This grants drones extreme spatial awareness and quick reaction to any changes around them. They are also blessed with longer antennae — bee’s organ of smell. They can sense the presence of a bee queen from 50 meters away.

Drones are exempt from any work in the hive. They do not take part in defending it, they can’t even get food for themselves. Their only purpose is to impregnate bee queens. Nature has liberated drones from any duties other than the procreative one. This all comes at a great cost though. After the mating with the queen is over the drone dies. Drones are part of the bee family for only as long as the swarming period lasts. After that drones are exiled, they purpose fulfilled and they no longer needed for.

Questions 28-35
Complete the table below.
Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from Reading Passage 3 for each answer.

Type of beeFunctionComments
Worker bee• Ensuring there is enough 28 _____
29 _____ the hive from trespassers
• Feeding the 30 _____
Unable to 31 ______
Queen beeBreeding new beesCompletely 32 _____ worker bees
Drone33 _____ the queen bee.• Cannot 34 _____ for themselves
• 35 _____ from the hive after swarming is over.

Questions 36-40
Do the following statements agree with the information in Reading Passage 2?
Write …

TRUE if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this

36. Worker bees constitute the majority of hive population
37. There can only be one queen in the hive at a time
38. The gender of newborn bee is decided by chance
39. Drones are larger than worker bees in size
40. Drone’s perception is better than that of a worker bee.

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