03 Mar Bee Products
As we have spent most of last year talking about bee products, I thought that I would start the year with a holistic look at the beehive so that you too can understand the goings on inside the bee’s world!
A beehive is an enclosed structure in which bees live in. In there they look after their queen, house the brood (eggs larvae and pupae), raise their young, and store food such as honey and pollen.
It’s a very busy place and each member of the hive has a specific job to do in order to keep the hive functioning efficiently. In each hive is a Queen, the workers, and the drones.
The Queen: A hive may have up to 80,000 bees, but there can only be one queen! She is the mother of the hive! She can lay up to 1,500 eggs during the busy season and lives up to 7 years. The hive cannot exist without its queen. She releases pheromones that guide the colony acting like a social glue. These pheromones control the behaviour of each bee. In the rare circumstances when a hive has no queen the hive’s productively, and safety can be diminished.
The workers: As the name suggest they do most of the work. All worker bees are female but what separates them from the queen is that they can’t lay fertile eggs. Their job is to forage for pollen and nectar, lay eggs, feed the larvae, take care of the queen and the drones, as well as protect (sting) and preserve the hive. These are the ones you see out and about in the garden. When they return to the hive, they use their unique process of regurgitation to turn the nectar into honey. They do such a good job that there is always enough honey for us humans as well. When the worker bee becomes older, they become the protectors of the hive!
The drones: They only have one job to do and that is to fertilize new bees. Their sole purpose is to keep the genetics of the family alive and pass it on to the next generation. They usually mate outdoors, in mid-air! They die shortly after. They don’t make honey and they don’t have a sting! It’s interesting to note that they are the first to be kicked out of the hive if food supplies are low.
For a hive to run efficiently each member has a job to do in order to keep the hive a safe and healthy place for all to live. So, whether you read about bees or use bee derived products such as Propolis, Royal Jelly, Bee Pollen bee venom honey and the like just remember the unique world of the bee!