What's the buzz on those brilliant bees?
Facts about Honey bees
• Honey bees are very important pollinators for flowers, fruits and vegetables by helping other plants to grow and reproduce. Bees transfer pollen between the male and female plant parts in order to grow seeds and fruits.
• Honey bees live in hives or colonies. The members of the hive are divided into three types:
Queen: One queen is in charge of the whole hive. Her job is to lay the eggs that will become the next generation of bees. The queen also produces chemicals that guide the behavior of the other bees.
Workers: These bees are all female and their roles are to forage for food (pollen and nectar from flowers), build and protect the hive and clean and circulate the air by beating their wings. Workers are the only bees most people ever see flying around outside the hive.
Drones: These bees are the male bees, and their purpose is to mate with the new queen. Several hundred live in each hive during the spring and summer. But by winter, when the hive goes into survival mode, the drones are kicked out!
• Honey bees produce honey as food to store in the hive for the winter. Luckily for us, these busy workers produce two to three times more honey than they actually need, so we get to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
• If the queen dies, workers will create a new queen by selecting a young larva and begin feeding it a special food called 'royal jelly'. This allows the larva to develop into a fertile queen.
• Honey bees are fantastic flyers. They can fly up to 15 miles per hour and beat their wings up to 200 times per second.
• The average worker bee lives for just five-six weeks. During their life span, they will produce approximately one-twelfth of a teaspoon of honey.
• The queen can live up to five years. She is busiest in the summer when she can lay up to 2,500 eggs a day.
• Honey bees are also great dancers. They perform their 'wiggle dance' to share information about the best food sources. When the worker returns to the hive, it moves in a figure eight and wiggles its body to show the direction of the food source.
• Unfortunately, over the past 15 years, colonies of bees have been disappearing. Referred to as 'colony collapse disorder', billions of honey bees across the world are leaving their hives. In some regions, up to 90% of bees have disappeared.
How can we support honey bees? Plant flowers rich in nectar such as allium, coneflower, lavender, cosmos, mint, zinnia. Look for more at https://www.pasquesi.com/perennials/pollinators) and support bees and their beekeepers by purchasing locally made honey.CREDIT: National Geographic