I am now the proud keeper of one small bee hive. Here we are taking our first look at the ladies. In one hive there are between 20,000 and 60,000 bees. There’s only one queen, who lays over 1,000 eggs each day. The vast majority of the bees are female workers with only a few lazy males permitted to hang around. The honeybee is a eusocial insect. They have a division of labor withing the hive and several ways of communicating with each other. They are also fastidiously clean and keep everything sanitary within the hive. Honeybees are so interesting I just can’t wait to learn more about them.
Unfortunately, these small friends who produce HONEY and pollinate nearly every fruit, vegetable and nut we eat, have had a rough time lately. They are attacked from all sides, suffering from mites, diseases, beetles, and bringing home poisons from plants which have been sprayed with pesticides. Although there’s not much we can do about the presence of mites and beetles except manage them the best we can, there IS something we can all do to help our honeybees. Stop spraying pesticides (they kill insects), and shop for organic produce whenever you can. Think about the whole system when you look at your garden, back yard or local park. None of it works without pollinators. Bees and other beneficial insects need a variety of flowers to provide nectar and pollen throughout the growing season. Bees have been working for us forever, maybe we could help them out as well.