The Wonderful Life of Honey Bees

| May 5, 2019 | 0 Comments

Bee enjoying my Borage Flower

I love honey bees, I could sit in my garden all day watching the bees going about their business. Pollinating the flowers and collecting nectar to take back to their hives to turn into honey. Bees are just such a cool insect and deserve a lot of respect.

Australia has the healthiest Honey bees in the world. Europeans introduced the honey bee into Australia between 1800 to 1850’s. If a hive is in peak condition it should hold up to 60,000 worker bees and it has only one queen. Australia is renowned in the bee industry for selling healthy queens and  Honey bees to the rest of the world.

The Three Bees That Make Up A Hive

  • Worker bees, they are female and live up to 6 weeks, in a healthy hive there should be up to 60,000 worker bees. The hardest job they have is when they turn into forager bees. They start out as a fertilized egg. Then it takes 21 days to hatch into a worker bee. Their first position is as a nurse bee looking after the eggs, pupae and larvae. After a week or so they work in the honeycomb area as a house bee. Then after about 3 weeks they become forager bees. And their wings will wear out in about 2 to 3 weeks. Then they become guard bees of the hive near the end of their life cycle.
  • Drone bees, they are male and live up to 2 months. The queen lays an infertile egg and in 24 days it hatches and is a male bee. There is up to 600 drone bees in a healthy hive. And their job is to mate with the queen. Once they have mated, they will die.
  • Queen bee, she is the matriarch of the hive. She lives up to 7 years and when she is fertilised, she gets fed and looked after by the workers because in this condition she cannot fly.

The Sweet Nectar that Flows

Nectar is produced by flowers to attract the worker bees to it. The nectar is then gathered by the worker bees and is stored in their honey stomach. And when they return to the hive, they pass it on to a house bee who deposits it in the honeycomb cells. Each evening the honey bees spread themselves out over the honeycomb and spread their wings. They then beat their wings to create a warm current that evaporates the water out of the nectar. When the moisture content is about 18% or lower the nectar has turned in to honey. The bees then cap the honeycomb cells with bee’s wax. Honey does not deteriorate over time if it is stored properly.

The Honey Bees About Beeswax

Ok so wax is secreted from the glands in a honey bees abdomen. The wax is actually drawn out of these glands by other bees. You might often see a bee hanging off another bee near a hive, it is in fact drawing the wax out. The wax comes out in little flakes which the bees use to make their hexagon honeycombs. The bees also use the wax flakes to cap the honeycomb when its full of honey. They also use it for the pupae cells in the brood area.

Beeswax has many uses candles, cosmetics, furniture polish, etc. It has been used for thousands of years all around the world.

Bees the Little Pollinators

Pollen is the bee’s protein. And as in any hive some bees will collect nectar and some will collect pollen. As the bees move from flower to flower the pollen is collected and stored in little sacks on their back legs. Pollen and honey are combined to make bee bread which the nurse bees feed to the developing larvae.

Propolis The Bees Glue

Propolis is the bees glue. It’s a resin collected from flowers by bees and is used throughout the hive. They use it to glue holes closed to stop cold drafts during winter or bugs and water from getting in to the hive. Propolis has antibacterial properties and has been used in traditional medicines for years.

How Much Honey do They Make

How much honey do they make, will depend on so many factors; rains, seasons, flowers. If Your going to have bees your hives location is important and even how strong the queen is. Most importantly is do you have any flowers nearby or growing in your garden. For a healthy hive you will need to have a lot of flowers growing in your neighbourhood.

 Everything bees produce can be used for something which makes these industrious little workers the hardest workers in the world.

  • Honey
  • Beeswax
  • Propolis
  • The royal Jelly (which is produced in a gland on the bee and feed to the potential queens in their growth stage)
  • There is even a growing market for Bee Venom

In Australia the eucalyptus tree is the best producer of nectar for the bees to enjoy. And if the conditions are good, they can provide huge amounts of nectar. Bees are a wonderful contributor to a healthy sustainable environment through the pollination of plants. So, the more your neighbourhood plants trees, flowers, shrubs etc the better off our little friends the bees will be. And this little hard worker needs our help to maintain their environment.

As you can see in the pictures this was a bee enjoying my Borage Herb flowers in my garden. Which is what inspired me to write about bees.

As always grow what you love, enjoy.

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Category: Gardening Ideas

About the Author ()

Hi my name Tanya and I am a lover of growing all things in the garden. Its the one place I feel at peace and can rest my soul. From my earliest childhood memory I have always loved the garden. So I hope to be able to pass on some of the information, tips, tricks and of course my passion for Gardening. Love what you grow. Enjoy.

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