This year will mark our 4th honey harvest, we have learned so much about bees and how to do our best to keep them! We love having them at our house, they add so much to our yard, garden, and of course their sweet contribution to our diet, lots of yummy honey! Today I am sharing a few of my favorite facts about bees that I think makes them pretty amazing creatures.
Did you know.....
*Honey bees communicate to each other using dance and chemical scents?
*The honey bee hive is one of the cleanest and most sterile environments found in nature. Honey bees are meticulous housekeepers. (Wish I could train them to clean my house!)
*All worker bees are female.
*In the summer time 60,000 or more bees can live in a healthy hive. (I have 10 hives at my house currently)
*A honey worker bee has a stinger that has a barb and when it stings a mammal, (like a human), the barb sticks in the skin.When this happens the bees stinger, venom sack and part of her abdomen detach, this is why a bee dies if it stings you. This is only true when they sting mammals, they can sting other insects repeatedly without the barb sticking in.
*The only male bees in the colony are called drones. They don't contribute any work in the hive. They don't clean, care for young, collect nectar or pollen, they have only one job in life. That job is to mate with virgin queens. This occurs outside the hive in mid flight. And because the drones sex organ is also barbed it stays with the queen and when mating is done he falls to his death. Poor drones! What a way to go I guess!
*At the end of the summer season the worker bees will make the drones leave the hive as their job is now done and they will just eat all the honey over the winter. The queen will lay new drones for mating next season.
*Bees must visit 5 million flowers to produce a single pint of honey! Busy little bees!
*The queen is the center of her hive. All things revolve around her. Her main job is to lay eggs which she does non-stop! She also guides the hive with her scents that she gives off to stimulates other bees to do things. Let me tell you, if they sense danger they put off a scent that tells them all to sting! So watch out if you are that threat. The queen is so busy laying about 1,500 eggs per day she can't even groom or feed herself, or even leave the hive to potty! She has worker bee attendants that perform these duties for her.
The more time I spend around our bees both in my yard, garden and out at their hive, the more I am amazed at these special creatures. The next step I want to make is to build a observation hive to be able to take to different locales for others to be able to witness their magic!