First, I'll answer the questions my bloggy friends asked:
Will you be getting more bees? Yes, but not until spring of next year... with winter coming on it's not a good time to be starting a new hive with young bees, unless we come across a swarm of bees in need of a home, but even then we will have to "feed" them through the winter because they will have no established honey supply. So, we will wait... *sigh*
What do you do with the beeswax? There are many wonderful things I could do with it, like homemade candles, soap, lip balm.... however, when we helped Dad with his hive, he preferred to leave the comb intact and put the frames back in the hives for the bees clean out, which in turn helps the bees by giving them an already-made foundation for storing more honey.
What are you going to do with all that honey? Well.... *sheepish grin* Actually it's all gone except for just a little bit.... we made a "Fresh Honey" sign and put it at the end of our driveway, and sold over 7 gallons in less than 2 weeks! The remaining honey is for us and our family and friends to enjoy.
And now, some amazing facts about honey bees:
- Many people are intimidated by bees of any kind, but what makes a honey bee special (and very non-aggressive)- it knows it must use it's stinger sparingly... a honey bee can only sting once, then it dies.
- A colony of honey bees in early spring has 10,000-15,000 bees. A colony of honey bees in summer has 50-60,000 bees.
- A normal colony of honey bees contains only one Queen who may lay 2,000 eggs per day during her busy season
- There may be 50,000 or more "Worker" bees (females) in a colony who do all the work. These are the bees you see out gathering pollen and working in your plants and flower gardens, as well as cleaning the inside of the hive and tending to the Queen. The male bee is known as a "Drone", and there will be usually only a few hundred or less of them in a hive... a drone has no other function in life other than to mate with a queen and then die. Leftover drones that remain in the hive as cold weather approaches are literally run out of the hive by female worker bees who cannot afford to feed the drones from their precious honey supply during winter.
- It requires 10,000 worker bees to gather a pound of honey.
- Bees fly the equivalent of more than twice around the world to gather a pound of honey.
- The average lifespan of a Worker bee during the working season is about 4 to 6 weeks, and she spends it all working for the good of the hive. When she can no longer fly to collect pollen or nectar, she will leave and die outside the hive.
- Bees remove the excess moisture from nectar by rapidly fanning their wings over the open cells in the hive.
- Honey varies in color from white through golden to dark brown and usually the darker the color the stronger the flavor.