Bees are delightful and intelligent creatures, and we just love them! One of the most rewarding parts of beekeeping is always having bees around.
Not only do they provide great company, but they are mesmerizing to watch. Many a warm summer afternoon can be spent next to the hives bee gazing.
The purpose of raising bees is simply for the purpose of raising bees, with the understanding that we all benefit from having more bees in the world. That being said, bees can do some really wonderful things!
Here’s a few:
Honey bees, of course, make honey. Sweet delicious honey. Honey is nutritious beyond belief and in the right conditions, will never go bad.
Raw honey is rich in vitamins and minerals and pollens packed with protein. You can replace all of your sweeteners with honey, and there will still be plenty to go around!
Honey bees naturally produce honey from nectar and store it for food. Because the bees are programmed to store as much honey as possible in the summer months, beekeepers can safely take some of the excess, leaving plenty of food for the bees to get them through Winter and Early Spring.
Honey bees are also excellent pollinators. Once a honeybee finds a floral source it will continue to go to that certain flower until the bee can find no more. This makes them extremely useful for crop pollination as they will typically land on every flower available that a plant produces.
Some frames of wax honey comb should be cycled out of hives every year in order to keep the wax in the hive from getting too old and susceptible bacteria and diseases. The wax that is removed from the have can be cleaned, rendered, and then used for many purposes. Bees wax makes for a great base for lip balms, deodorants, salves, candles…. the list goes on!
Propolis (sometimes called “Bee Resin”) is used by the bees to seal their hives from the elements, and to “glue” everything together. Propolis has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that can be extremely beneficial to keeping humans healthy. Propolis can be used topically for cuts and burns to prevent infection, and can also be ingested. When consumed, Propolis acts as an antibiotic and can provide support for your immune system.
Pollen, the world’s most amazing super food.
Pollen from flowers is the ONLY food source that can provide ALL of the vitamins, minerals, and protein needed to sustain life.
That’s right, you can live on eating just pollen.
See this article for real human proof:
In fact, we have discovered in the last decade that pollen contains a concentration of nearly all the nutrients known to man.
For more information about the wonders of pollen, visit:
As bees go from flower to flower, their body gets covered in little bits of pollen. Every now and then the bees will stop for a minute to clean themselves, but the smart honey bee, knowing how nutritious pollen is doesn’t just throw the pollen away. The bee rolls up the pollen into little balls, and then sticks the whole ball to a spike on their back legs. Once the bee gets back to the hive it will find and cell to pack the pollen in so that the bees inside the hive can snack on the pollen goodness as well.
It is easy to see that bees provide a wealth of nutritional and useful things for humans to use. Not only do they give us insanely nutritious foods, but they make wax and propolis that help protect us from the elements, bacteria, and disease.
All of this they do while pollinating crops and providing the world with over 1/3 of our natural food supply.
If humans are to survive on this planet, it will only be through the mindful intervention on the depopulation we are causing for all species of bees.
But that little wild bee, half starved, ignorant, is the ancestor of all the civilized bees. And, what is more important, as the scientists point out, it is probably to her that we owe nearly all of our flowers and fruit. A hundred thousand varieties of plants would disappear from the earth if the bees did not visit them, carrying the pollen. - Denver, Colorado Newspaper – 1914
As most people know, nearly all species of bee have populations that are in decline. Some are now even on the endangered species list and are federally protected.
The decline in honey bee populations has commonly been referred to as Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD. The trouble with this labeling is that it can lead us to believe there is a single cause for bees dying off – CCD.
That is not the case!
There are many reasons that bees lives are threatened in our world today, and sadly to say, we humans carry the brunt of the blame.
From the over use of chemicals in agriculture and the sprawl of concrete jungles, many ”advancements” of our modern world have meant sacrificing a suitable place for bees to live.
While we may never completely get away from our concrete jungles, we can provide education on why these things are harmful to bees in the hopes that little by little we can make change.
Some things are unavoidable in our world, but we believe that the use of systemic pesticides and genetically modified plants or animals in agriculture does not provide a better world for anyone – including bees. By bringing more awareness to the facts, we hope to reduce the demand for products made by these means, and in turn reduce their use in commercial agriculture.
By educating the people and raising a whole bunch of bees, we will be able to collectively change the path we are currently heading down and bring back all the bee populations. We will measure the strength of our society by the strength of the flora and fauna around us, not our profits and GDP.
The safety of England depends on the number of cats she keeps. He proves his proposition thus: Without the aid of bumble-bees the red clover could not be fertilised. Bumble-bees make their nests on the ground, where they are the prey of mice. Cats destroy the mice and give the bees a chance to live. Hence he reasons, no cats, many mice; many mice, no bumble-bees; no bees, no clover; no clover, no cattle; no cattle, no beef; and without beef where would the Englishman be?—Prof. W. W. Cooke—(American Bee Journal.)
There are around 25,000 species of bee, with 4000 of those in the United States. These 25,000 species are divided among 9 families.
The most common family of bee is the Apidae Family which features the Honey, Bumble, Digger, Carpenter, and Stingless Bees.
Four more families of bee are found here in the United States:
The Megachilidae (Leafcutter and Mason Bees), Andrenidae (Mining Bee), Colletidae (Yellow-Faced Bee), and Halictidae (Sweat Bees).
The last four species out of the nine are found in Africa and Australia:
Melittidae, Meganomiidae, Dasypodaidae (Africa), and Stenotritidae (Austrailia).
Bees have five eyes. The three ocelli are simple eyes that discern light intensity. Each of the two large compound eyes contain about 6,900 facets. Honeybees can perceive movements that are separated by 1/300th of a second; for humans it’s 1/50th of a second.
While bees cannot recognize the color red, they do see ultraviolet colors.
The life span of a worker bee varies according to the time of year. Her life expectancy is approximately 28 to 35 days. Workers that are reared in September and October can live through the winter.
In one day a queen can lay her weight in eggs, She will lay one egg per minute day and night, for a total of 1500 eggs over a 24 hour period and 200,000 eggs in a year.
Theoretically, one ounce of honey would provide a single bee with enough energy to fly around the world! In her lifetime a worker bee will produce 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey.
To make one pound of honey, workers in a hive fly 55,000 miles and tap two million flowers.
Bees are not fast fliers; while their wings beat over 11,000 cycles per minute (giving them their distinctive buzz), their flight speed averages only 15 miles per hour. In comparison a fly in the genus Forcipomyia beats its wings over 62,000 cycles per minute.
Honeybees communicate with one another by “dancing”. Honeybees do a dance which alerts other bees where nectar and pollen is located. The dance explains direction and distance. Bees also communicate with pheromones (by scent).