Where have I been?

Running a honey business can be a busy enterprise, especially in Spring, and this season has been much stronger than past years with plenty of rain and warm days. The blossom started early and has been strong generating lots of work both for our friend the bee but also for all beekeepers, hence the absence of any entries on my blog. But I’m back and ready to post regular thoughts and experiences, including articles on all things bee. I hope you find them interesting 🙂

So what am I up to? Well, this weekend I’m extracting a bee colony from a mezzanine floor cavity. They’ve been there a few months so it should be interesting. I’ll take some photos and tell you all about it early next week. I’m also harvesting some Messmate honey from one of our apiaries and checking on the other two apiaries to check their honey flow. We also have a few hives as part of our Host-a-Hive program which I’ll inspect as well. So as you can see it’ll be a busy, albeit long, weekend.

As part of this blog I’ll also write an article each week about different aspects of bees and beekeeping. Here’s my first attempt. 🙂

How does a beehive work?
A typical beehive has anywhere from 30,000 to 50,000 bees, all playing a specific role and together working as a collective entity maintaining both the hive and the health of the entire community. The Blues singer Muddy Waters once famously sang “Well I’m a King Bee” but in actual fact there is no king bee, but there is a queen who lives between 3-4 years. While there are different roles such as a queen, worker bees, nursery bees, etc. all members of the community are equal with each role as important to the health of the hive as the other. The queen’s role, once having mated, is to lay up to 1,000 eggs a day to ensure the continued sustainable population of the hive. She is looked after by her attendants who follow her around making sure her needs are met. The only male bees in a hive comprise of about 1% of the total population and these are drones. They don’t have a stinger, don’t do any work to maintain the hive and are fed by the worker bees, their only role is to mate with the queen. The rest of the population is made up of female bees performing various roles to support the colony. I’ll talk more about the various roles worker bees fill in future blogs.

Well thats it for this week, I’ll be back after the weekend with an update on the hive extraction and another article on our friend the bee.

Bee Happy
Tony McNamara
Surfcoast Honey

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