Want to see how we get that sweet honey out of the hive (preferably without getting stung?)
I am often asked, "Why in the world do you like bees?"
To a beekeeper that seems like a strange question. In my mind bees are hardworking, useful, and beautiful. They pollinate our berries and vegetables and make delicious honey in the process.
Each honey bee has a job which changes as they mature. As soon as they have emerged from their cell they are fed, cleaned, and taught their responsibilities from house bees. Some of the older house bees will become guard bees. Their job is to protect the hive from intruders. Intruders could be anything from an ant to a wasp or bumblebee or a skunk. Unfortunately, it also includes people!
A honey bee will then become a worker bee. Every honey bee that one sees floating from flower to flower is a female worker bee. They collect pollen, nectar, and water for the hive. The pollen helps in making new babies; the nectar is changed into honey for food; and the water is used for hydration and cooling.
There are only two other types of bees in the hive. Male drones are born usually in the spring during the mating period. The hive decides that they need a few good men and the queen lays male eggs. The drone's sole responsibility is to reproduce with a new queen. During that act, the drone sacrifices his all for his queen and then dies. But his genetics live on. I like drones because they don't have stingers. But since the drones do not forage for food and only eat reserves they are kicked out of the hive at the end of the summer. Poor guys!
Which brings us to the queen. She is the largest most beautiful insect in the hive. She is usually golden and plump. She lays thousands of eggs in her lifetime. She is the lifeblood of the hive. Without her the hive will die. She is indeed royalty for she is served and cleaned by house bees specially assigned to her. I love seeing the queen while I am going through a hive. It's the closest I'll ever get to royalty.
We currently have fifteen active hives on our property. That's about a half a million bees. Eventually I would like to expand to fifty. But that's many years down the road.
Bees & Honey