Facts, Info, and Questions

on the almighty Honey Bee

Honey Bees 101:
Understanding the Basics

There are more than 20,000 different species of bees in the world. Each colony of Honey Bees consists of workers, drones, and the Queen. Each bee plays a critical part in maintaining a healthy hive. There are many casts of bees, as the worker go’s through her 38 day life cycle. Nurse bees, guard bees, and foraging duty’s are all crucial jobs. Honey bees are social insects that work together creating the hive. 

 A honey bee colony is predominantly female. With the queen bee in charge of laying new cells and worker bees do everything else. One reproducing while the other takes care of her brood (the larvae) and the hive. The third type is made up exclusively of males whose sole purpose is mating with the queen. The drone then dies after mating. A virgin queen will mate with 10 to 15 drones. The queen will sometimes go on multiple mating flights.

Bees are a unique species of insect that have adapted beautifully to their natural habitat. Unlike wasps and ants, bees do not consume other creatures for their nourishment but get all they need from pollen and nectar. The anatomy of these insects makes them uniquely suited towards collecting food because it allows them access deep within flowers and plants. Bees have a tongue that is a quarter inch long straw, called a proboscis. This allows them to collect nectar from flowers. They store this nectar and create honey from thousands of different floral sources.

The Arrival
Of Honey Bees In america

In the early 1600s, English colonists brought hives of Apis mellifera to  the Jamestown settlement. These bees thrived in the old-growth forests of America and spread West with pioneers following them from the east over time. It was reported they were excitable, runny on their combs, and prone to some diseases, but overcame the cold climates better than other species. 

It was the late 19th century when a different type of bee from Italy, made its way to America. As soon as their gentleness and high honey production became known they quickly rose in popularity due to these factors being desirable traits for most farmers raising bees at that time.

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