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Honey History and Bee Facts

Bee Facts

The common Honeybee is of European in origin,( apis mellifera )  or is sometimes known as the western honeybee

Honeybees are not aggressive by nature, and will not sting unless protecting their hive from an intruder or are unduly provoked.Honey and Bee Facts

Honeybees have a highly organized society, with certain bees having specific roles during their lifetime: e.g., nurses, guards, housekeepers, builders, royal servants, undertakers and foragers,

The queen bee lives for 2 to 5 years. Worker bees live for 6 weeks and work flat out during the summer, and for 4-9 months during the quieter winter months.

 Honey collection and beekeeping dates back thousands of years and is documented in virtually all cultures via ancient text and scrolls down to wall paintings

Although Honeybees are very quiet during winter, the honeybee survives the colder months by clustering for warmth. By self-regulating the internal temperature of the cluster, the bees maintain 34 to 35 degrees Celsius in the centre of the hive

Queen Bee
There is only one queen per hive. The queen is the only bee with fully developed ovaries. A queen bee can live for 3-5 years. The queen mates only once with several male (drone) bees, and will remain fertile for life. She lays up to 2000 eggs per day. Fertilized eggs become female (worker bees) and unfertilized eggs become male (drone bees). When she dies or becomes unproductive, the other bees will "make" a new queen by selecting a young larva and feeding it a diet of "royal jelly". For queen bees, it takes 16 days from egg to emergence.

Worker Bee
All worker bees are female, but they are not able to reproduce. Worker bees live for 4-9 months during the winter season, but only 6 weeks during the busy summer months. Nearly all of the bees in a hive are worker bees. A hive consists of 20,000 - 30,000 bees in the winter, and over 60,000 - 80,000 bees in the summer. The worker bees sequentially take on a series of specific chores during their lifetime: housekeeper; nursemaid; construction worker; grocer; undertaker; guard; and finally, after 21 days they become a forager collecting pollen and nectar. For worker bees, it takes 21 days from egg to emergence. The worker bee has a barbed stinger that results in her death following stinging; therefore, she can only sting once.

Drone Bee
These male bees are kept on standby during the summer for mating with a virgin queen. Because the drone has a barbed sex organ, mating is followed by death of the drone. There are only 300-3000 drones in a hive. The drone does not have a stinger. Because they are of no use in the winter, drones are expelled from the hive in the autumn.

Other Hive Facts

Pollination

Honeybees account for 80% of all insect pollination. Without the Honeybee the world would see a significant decrease in the harvest of fruits and vegetables.

Pollen
A health colony of bees can collect over 30 kg of pollen per year. The Pollen is used by the bees as a food. Pollen  is one of the richest and purest natural foods, containing a high percentage of protein and sugars and balanced levels of , carbohydrates, enzymes, minerals, and vitamins A (carotenes), B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (nicotinic acid), B5 (panothenic acid), C (ascorbic acid) and (biotin) pollen really is nature’s super food

Honey
Honey is used by the bees for food all year round. Types, colours and flavours of honey, are dependent upon the floral nectar source.

Beeswax
Secreted from the wax glands of the honeybee, beeswax is used by the bee to build comb for honey and pollen storage to incubating the eggs and nursing of the brood (hatched bees).As a purely natural wax free of chemicals it is commonly used drugs, cosmetics as furniture polish and candles.

Propolis
Collected by bees mainly from trees, this very sticky brown resin is mixed with wax to make natural glue. The bees use this to seal cracks and and holes in the hive and just about stick anything and everything down with it. It is also harvested by us to make tinctures and capsules as research has shown it to be high in antibacterial activity especially in oral health

Royal Jelly
The magical milky substance that turns an ordinary worker bee into a Queen Bee. It is made of digested pollen and honey or nectar mixed with a chemical secreted from a gland in a nursing bee's head. Full of B vitamins it is used by some as a supplement targeted for energy & vitality

Bee Venom

A powerful substance used purely a as defence by the bee. A honeybee’s stinger has a barb that ensures the sting stays attached to the target the bee then pulls away leaving the stinger and venom sack behind to ensure maximum effect, the bee shortly dies after. Only the queen bee can sting multiple times as she doesn’t have a barb on her stinger but she only uses it to kill other rouge queens. Be venom is now used as a cosmetic additive and is collected by electro conduction in order not to kill the bees it is also used widely for relief of conditions such as MS and new research suggest it will have a future in combating certain tumours