Terry and Janet

Terry and Janet

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

We've Got Honey!

We found a beehive under one of the eaves of our house.
They haven't been there long...  thank goodness.
The bee man told me that this hive will have about 2000 bees.

That freaked me out.

He got in there and had to kill the queen.
I didn't want to kill anything but I didn't want my walls
running with honey either.

He told me that when the rest of the hive arrives home
after a long day of work...
they might form a big black ball outside the dead hive
wondering what happened to their queen.

The bee man told me that he doesn't eat honey any more.
I guess the producing of honey is not a pleasant process.

I didn't want him to tell me anything else
because I love honey...

Thank you bees for the honey...
Thank you bee man for relocating this hive.
Fly away bees!

Oh dear...  I got curious.
Here you go...

Honeybees use nectar to make honey. Nectar is almost 80% water with some complex sugars. In fact, if you have ever pulled a honeysuckle blossom out of its stem, nectar is the clear liquid that drops from the end of the blossom. In North America, bees get nectar from flowers like clovers, dandelions, berry bushes and fruit tree blossoms. They use their long, tubelike tongues like straws to suck the nectar out of the flowers and they store it in their "honey stomachs". Bees actually have two stomachs, their honey stomach which they use like a nectar backpack and their regular stomach. The honey stomach holds almost 70 mg of nectar and when full, it weighs almost as much as the bee does. Honeybees must visit between 100 and 1500 flowers in order to fill their honeystomachs.
The honeybees return to the hive and pass the nectar onto other worker bees. These bees suck the nectar from the honeybee's stomach through their mouths. These "house bees" "chew" the nectar for about half an hour. During this time, enzymes are breaking the complex sugars in the nectar into simple sugars so that it is both more digestible for the bees and less likely to be attacked by bacteria while it is stored within the hive. The bees then spread the nectar throughout the honeycombs where water evaporates from it, making it a thicker syrup. The bees make the nectar dry even faster by fanning it with their wings. Once the honey is gooey enough, the bees seal off the cell of the honeycomb with a plug of wax. The honey is stored until it is eaten. In one year, a colony of bees eats between 120 and 200 pounds of honey.