9/14/10

For the love of a Honey bee

So many of you asked bee-related questions in the comments of my Liquid Gold post a couple of weeks ago that instead of answering them all individually, I thought I would do another post dedicated to the wonderful honey bee.... I think the more you learn about these fascinating little creatures the more you will appreciate not only the honey you eat but what the honey bee (and all pollinators, for that matter) means to our plants and us.

 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.
  • Honey is one of the safest food - most harmful bacteria cannot live in honey for any length of time.  
And one final tidbit of honey bee trivia: Can you name a famous actor who was also a beekeeper?


*Henry Fonda*


Hope this has made you fall in love with the Honeybee!
Happy Tuesday, everybody!

25 comments:

  1. I don't know why, but your bee posts are always the ones that intrigue me most! I was really excited when we found that hive in our garden shed, but it seems a skunk or raccoon found it the next night because when my husband checked on it the next morning, the bees were basically gone and the nest had been seriously violated. Boo. But I'm really considering looking into getting a small hive and stocking it with bees next spring!

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  2. Good Morning!
    What a great post!
    I love it!
    Keeping bees has always been one of those things that I've thought about doing......someday. You inspire me to think about it a lot more seriously :)
    Congratulations on selling all that wonderful honey. I would have bought some for sure.....that is, if I lived closer :)
    Have a great one !

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  3. Hi Paula,
    That was very interesting indeed... I love raw honey, but not sure about hives of our own. I know, I'm allergic to wasps, not sure about honey bees.

    A friend of ours raised bees and produced their own honey, seemed like a lot of work, but the honey was delicious...

    Thanks for sharing the facts about bees and their dedication.

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  4. What a fabulous post about the honey bee. I loved reading about them.♥

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  5. Paula,
    Every time I pay you a visit, I come away having learned so many interesting things. THANK YOU and have a blessed day! :)

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  6. I too love bees and wish we had more acreage or I'd have a hive or two...we did have a swarm of honey bees this summer that tried to make its home in our barbeque...what do you think about the Africanized bees? there was a big hive of them not far from us that made its home in a old tree...they killed two horses and the city had to come in and spend alot of money to get rid of them....
    the swarm in our yard were very gentle. I walked among them flying around and never got stung once...

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  7. That was really neat reading about the honey bees. The honey looks so good and I can see why it would sell so quickly.
    I never gave it much thought as to how many bees it would take to make the honey. Each one doesn't make much on it's own.

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  8. Hi Paula, I truly enjoyed reading this about the bees. When I had that beehive removed from one of our rental houses I demanded that they vacuum up and move the bees and not kill them. They got so much honeycomb from the walls! They asked me if I wanted it and I said no because I didn't know what to do with it. Now after reading your post I should have taken it!
    I noticed in a tree the bees have started a new hive. But this one I will leave because its in our avocado grove and I need bees there!
    Have a wonderful week!
    Hugs, Ann

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  9. Wow, thanks for the honey bee tutorial. We are fortunate to be able to get local honey and I can understand why yours sold so fast.

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  10. WOW..so much cool information, or should I say sweet information! It is all very interesting and I love honey! I also heard that there is a shortage of bees? Enjoy it this winter :D

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  11. Wow Paula, some interesting stuff about bees. (grin) I did not know most of that. I am sure you will be able to sell every bit of extra honey that you collect. Thanks for sharing about the bees with us. Have a good week. Winona

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  12. WOW!!! That's a LOT of Honey for sale! I LOVE fresh honey!
    And you're brave...Very brave!Hahaaa
    hughugs

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  13. Hey, Sweetie!
    Still enjoying our evening tea with your honey. Got a few nights left. Absolutely love it. Wild berry Zinger and really good honey. So good.....
    A lot of facts I did not know. We love the bees to be around to pollinate our veggies and fruits. If we don't have bees, we don't have tomatoes and that is how Mike measures time--- from last tomato of the season to first tomato of the new season.
    Boy, those little gals work their wings off, don't they? How do they keep alive all winter? Do they stop altogether or just move really slowly? If one dies in the winter, how do they get out of the hive? Just curious....
    Love to read your stories. Hoping to hear about Smoky soon!
    Love ya, ★Linda★

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  14. Love this! We started our first hive this year. It swarmed and we are so bummed to not have a honey harvest for us, but they seem to have enough to get themselves through the winter. They are so much fun, but also so much to learn.

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  15. Good afternoon Paula. What a lovely "Bee Post" My Dad always kept bee's and I have always loved them and been fascinated them...bee's are amazing and we would be in a great deal of trouble if they were not here to pollinate.

    Wishing you a wonderful day :)Doreen

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  16. That was so interesting to read.
    I did not know a lot of it.
    I love pure honey and I can not blame you for keeping some for yourself.
    I think that is why you do it,right????

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  17. Cool post, Paula!

    I KNOW that you should be cool and calm around the bees, but that's easier said than done. We love raw honey around here and I buy local all the time. Sure is good on hot buttery biscuits!

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  18. You know, the poor honeybees get a bad rap from some people. You and I know they are actually usually pretty docile. I will often stand nearby without beekeeping wear while my husband in his beekeeping suit harvests frames of honey, and never in the many years we have kept bees have I been stung. I do love the taste of honey and the honeycomb together fresh out of the hive.

    I thought of you when I picked my little chickens up from the poultry show at the state fair, for next to my chickens were a series of cages with the most beautiful Silkies I have seen. All bathed and fluffy just tempting me to snuggle them. ( I didn't )The Silkies, fluffy bottoms and all, were definitely winners as far as I was concerned.

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  19. Thank you for posting the bee facts....they are simply amazing.
    Hope you enjoy a wonderful weekend.
    Blessings,
    Pam

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  20. Hey Paula, If I lived close by I would have stopped and picked up a jar of honey. Thanks for the bee facts! I don't know if I could restrain myself from not using the bee wax to make candles. Take Care :)

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  21. Wow! What interesting facts about bees. I just love honey. I sure wish I were a beekeeper. So many intersting things to do with the beeswax. I love this posting.

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  22. Hi Paula!!! I love when you post. You always have something really interesting or the most beautiful pictures. My husband has always wanted to have honey bees. He has done research and looked at prices for supplies. Now we are waiting on land, lol. That may be a while. I think it is great that you can learn from your dad. What a great teacher! I bet that honey is mmmm mmmm good. Blessings to you!!

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  23. Well, it looks like you are the bee queen of raising bees! So glad you can sell the honey. Thanks for such an interesting post! blessings,Kathleen

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  24. I wish I could have bought some of that honey! This was a very interesting post. I was terrified of bees for much of my life, but having a garden the past few years has helped me overcome much of that fear. I'm still not going to be one of those people that puts honey on themselves to gather a bunch of them, but they no longer send me running :-)
    Blessings,
    Marcia

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  25. What a great post. I'm going to bookmark it for my science class. I have always wanted honey bees but as of yet, do not have any. Every generation of my mom's family had bees until my mom. Their last name was Beesley. I hope one day to continue this family tradition.

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