Honey Bees, the awesome little critters that keep many plants on this earth growing. What would we do without these little wonders… It is certainly not something we want to ever happen, therefore there are thousands of people that have become assistants to these incredible creatures. We had the opportunity to meet one such family, that we are sure many of our Discover! friends may know… The Boyd Family! During our visit the Boyds had eighteen hives started. The number can fluctuate depending on the queen and the strength of the hive. By fall, many hives are combined in order to increase their chances of surviving throughout the winter. After suiting up, we visited a large hive first. After using the smoker to take a peak inside, Brandon’s first tid bit of information became very apparent! “Honey bees are called social animals because they live in colonies and rely on each other.” Within the hive, there is a division of labor among the various kinds of bees in the colony. A colony can include a queen, drones, and worker bees.
The Queen is the only bee in the hive that is sexually developed. She is the largest, and can be recognized by here elongated abdomen. She lives longer than all the bees in the hive. Some say she can live years and years, but she is most productive the first two years of her life.
The Drones are the male bees in the hive. Their job is leave the hive and to mate with a queen from another hive. They do not collect food or pollen, nor do they tend the babies. Sadly, in the winter time they are often kicked out of the hive because resources are scarce.
The Busy Workers
Workers are all girls! In a colony there could be as many as 50,000 to 60,000 bees! Worker bees pretty much work themselves to death. In the beginning of their lives they are nurse bees, then they graduate to field and scout bees. They also protect the hive and make comb. They are very busy, and live only about a month or less. In the winter, they can live longer.
The worker bees keep the hive at a steady temperature all year round with their wing flaps. They would like it to be 92-93 degrees.
Honey bees fly in a radius of about 3-5 miles from their homes to forage for flowers and food. Bees gather both nectar and pollen from flowers and trees. They bring the nectar back to the hive and regurgitate the nectar into a honey cell. Then through flapping their wings, the bees evaporate some of the liquid in the nectar until it is honey. Then they cap it with a thin wax cover and store it for later use.
Bees use pollen, which is really sticky, and combine it with nectar to make bee bread. They feed this bread to the baby bees.
Baby bees are called a brood.
Bees preform an essential act by moving pollen and nectar from one flower to another. They pollinate the flowers and trees which allows fruits and vegetables to be created and to grow. A hive can make 50-200 pounds of honey a year, and it takes over 150 trips to a flower or tree to make just one teaspoon of honey.
Hope you enjoyed our first blog post about bees. We are hoping there will be many more. Thank you Boyd family, we will check in with you again soon! Happy honey making Discover! friends!