ORCHARD BLOSSOM HONEY

A Little Taste of Heaven! 

* There is only one queen in each colony. Queens will mate with approximately 20 drones during her only mating flight.

* The queen bee can live up to 5 years and her role is to fill the hive with eggs. She is the busiest in the summer months; when the hive needs to be at its maximum strength, she lays up to 3000 eggs per day.

* Before winter or when food becomes scarce, female honeybees will force surviving males out of the nest.

* Drones do not have stingers, and do not protect the hive. They do not collect pollen or nectar. Their only role is to mate with queens from other hives.

* A bee can fly up to 15 miles per hour. She will visit 50-100 flowers on one flight and will carry 80% of her weight in pollen or nectar. Her wings will stroke 11,400 beats per minute.

* Worker bees constitute the largest population in the colony and are all females. They are unable to produce fertilized eggs, however if there is no queen, they sometimes lay unfertilized eggs, which become male drones.

* Each worker bee, guided by a biological clock, assumes different responsibilities and performs specific job duties as she reaches a certain age.

* Summer bees live approximately 40 days but winter bees will live 4-9 months.

* In her lifetime, a bee will gather enough nectar to make less than 1 teaspoon of honey.

* It is believed that on average, nurse bees check a single larva over a thousand times a day.

* The time between the laying of the egg until the emergence of a bee will vary depending on what type of bee is being hatched. A Queen bee emerges at 16 days, a worker bee emerges at 21 days, and a drone emerges on the 24th day after being laid.

* It takes 10 pounds of nectar to create 1 pound of honey.

* All natural honey crystalizes. This can happen quicker in colder temperatures. If your honey has crystalized, set the container in warm water or in a very low oven (<115F/46C) to liquefy it. Do not put it in your microwave!

* Honey can be used as a replacement for sugar in any application, including canning and baking. Different types of flowers result in different changes in the taste of the honey

* The ancient Egyptians offered honey to the gods and then joined the Greeks, Romans and Chinese in using it as a salve for wounds and a treatment for fevers and stomach ailments.

* Bee honey was found in ancient Egyptian tombs and was still edible.

* Each little pollen pellet contains over two million flower pollen grains.

* Throughout history, propolis has been sought and valued for its medicinal and healing properties. It is an natural antibiotic, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-viral product of the hive that can be used to discourage infections, treat burns, protect against viral infections and colds, support the immune system, treat nail fungi, promote dental health, and protect against cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases.

* Royal Jelly helps the queen to live 70-80 times longer than a summer worker bee.

* Royal Jelly is produced only by young workers, between the ages of 4 and 12 days.

* Royal Jelly can help regulate blood pressure, balance cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation and can slow down premature aging.

* Beeswax is produced from the wax glands in honey bees.

* To produce one pound of beeswax, six to eight pounds of honey are ingested.

Beeswax has been found on pottery dating as far back as 7000 B.C., most likely used for waterproofing.

* Bees do not hibernate in winter.

* During winter, honey bees feed on the honey they collected during the warmer months. They form a tight cluster in their hive to keep the queen and themselves warm.

* During the winter, bees stop flying, gather in their hives and live on stored honey from fall to the next spring. The Queen will stop laying eggs around the fall equinox, and will not start again until the winter solstice.

* Worker bees become cleaners of brood cells when they are only one or two days old. They are responsible for cleaning and polishing the empty cells that ready to receive new eggs and store nectar and pollen. The queen inspects the cells and if they are not clean, the cleaners will have to do it again.

* When the worker bees are a little older, they become in charge of removing dead bees and disposal of the corpses to a place as far from the hive as possible. Diseased or dead broods are also quickly removed by the undertakers before becoming a health threat to the colony.

* Worker bees that are about 12 days old are mature enough to begin secreting and producing beeswax.

* Worker bees control the temperature and humidity within the hive. In a hot weather, these bees bring water to spread on the backs of fanning bees. They ventilate the hive by fanning their wings, create airflow in the hive, and bring down the temperature with evaporated water.

* Guarding the hive is the last task of a worker bee before venturing out to the fields. The guards inspect every bee that returns to the hive for a familiar scent. Only members of the hive are allowed to enter. Bees from other hives are occasionally allowed in when they bribe the guards with nectar. These "foreigners" steal some honey and pollen and leave. These worker bees also defend their colony against other insects. They also emit an alarm pheromone from a gland near their stingers to alert other bees on any impending danger.

* When they are about fourteen days old, the worker bees leave the nest at sunrise as foragers and visit the flowers four to five-kilometer radius from the hive in search of nectar, water, pollen and propolis. They can make about ten trips a day, each one lasting about an hour and return to their hive at sunset. At this final phase of life, at the age of 6 - 8 weeks, most worker bees will die in the field.

* A healthy hive can contain 40,000 to 60,000 bees at any one time, depending on the season.

* Swarming is the process by which a new honey bee colony is formed when the queen bee leaves the colony with a large group of worker bees. In the prime swarm, about 60% of the worker bees leave the original hive location with the old queen. This swarm can contain thousands to tens of thousands of bees.

* One in every three bites of food depends on bees for pollination, and the annual value of pollination services worldwide are estimated at over $125 billion.

* According to the Pollinator Stewardship Council, when honeybees and other pollinators pollinate avocado, they increase the plant’s fruit yield by 350 percent and fruit weight by 18 percent. Blueberry crops can see an increase in gross revenues of $112 per acre if one acre of vacant land is available to native pollinators. A honeybee hive working a hectare of cucumbers can yield 3 times more fruits than plots without bees.

* Bees make up 80% of all pollinators.

* Bees can fly up to 8.5 miles.

* Bees use several dances to communicate the location of nectar and water to other bees. One of these is called the ‘waggle dance.’

* Bees can see the same colors we do, except red.

* Bees first appeared on earth in the pre-Cretacious period, 150 million years ago.