Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Busy Bees Life

Look closely...can you see her? One of our bees gathering white dutch clover nectar.
   We are fascinated by the life of a honey bee. There really is no other creature in the animal kingdom that has adapted the social and life cycle like the honey bee. We enjoy the wonderful benefit of their sweet food supply as a result of their behavior and success. The social order and organization of bees has been developed to the point of extreme efficiency. It's been said that a bee will gather one twelfth of a teaspoon of nectar during it's lifetime. 
The entrance of a hive is like an airport with departures and arrivals all day long and TSA-like agents checking arrivals to make sure they belong to the hive.  In a strong hive would-be intruders, usually robber-bees from another hive, are turned away.
    A bee will live 35-45 days and during that time will do nearly every task required to keep the hive going. From the time a bee emerges from the protective wax cell she (all worker bees are female) will undertake a variety of tasks beginning with feeding newly hatched larvae and future sisters, to wax building, honey manufacture, guard duty and finally and the last job of their life is a field worker. These are the ones that fly to and fro from the hive to the nectar-bearing plants. When you think about it, leaving the hive going out into the world is dangerous business.  Calamities of all types await the little flyers. Predatory insects, lawn mowers, pesticides, dragon flies, birds, and dozens more insects all await the little worker. And don't forget sudden changes in weather such as rain. 
    The bee is effective because of their sheer numbers. A good egg laying queen, during peak spring honey flow, will lay perhaps a 1000-1500 eggs a day!  In just 21 days that will be another 1000- 1500 bees added to the colony. Of course, nearly that many are dying off each day as well. But a healthy colony will have perhaps fifty to a hundred thousand bees on any given day.
    This time of year the Dutch white clover is the best source of nectar for the bees of central Kentucky.  In the early spring honey locust is the finest source of nectar in our neck of the woods.  But as the summer rolls on, fewer nectar producing flowers suitable to honey bees are available. 
Our honey comes in two sizes presently, one pound jars: $9.00 without comb;  $10.00 with comb, and in eight ounce jars without comb only: $5.00
    Since this is our first year of operation we have limited supplies available. We expect to harvest more honey in the next couple of weeks. Most of this honey will be from the clover. We harvested some very light honey (from the honey locust tree) with the comb a couple of weeks ago and those supplies have just about sold out. We still have a few eight ounce jars left. We will post when the next supplies are available.

    If you are interested in purchasing or have questions about our honey please send us an email- We will be happy to ship anywhere in the U.S. at this time. Shipping charges will be calculated for your review before we complete the order. If your are in the central Ky area, we can make arrangements to deliver your honey.

Thanks for visiting B&E's Bees!

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