Honeybees are some of the most complex and astonishing creatures on earth. They are well structured and very systematic. Each member of the hive has a significant role, and all must work together in order to keep the hive healthy and groomed. Thus, communication is key. Bees talk to each other in two ways, by scent and by dancing. The scents or pheromones given off by honeybees are indicators of danger or happiness. While, when you see a bee doing their “waggle dance”, she is telling her sister bees how to get to the nectar source. How cool is that!
The hive colony consists of the queen bee, a few hundred drones and thousands of worker bees. The queen bee is the mom of the hive. She is the only fertile member of the colony and can lay up to 1500 eggs per day! Easy to spot in the hive, she has a larger abdomen than the other bees and lives up to 4 to 7 years. The drone bees are male. They are larger than worker bees, with a round body and big eyes and do not have stingers. Their only job is to mate with the queen bees from other hives. The rest of the work is done by the worker bees. These female bees make up 99% of the colony’s population and do almost everything for the hive, from feeding the baby bees, tending to the queen, cleaning the hive, collecting food, building honeycomb to guarding the colony! The worker bee has a barbed stinger used when forced to defend herself or the hive.
There are hundreds of thousands of flowering plant species dependent on insect pollination. A honeybee can visit up to 1000 flowers in one trip and a single bee colony can pollinate up 300 million flowers each day. This means bees are indispensable when it comes to pollinating human and animal food sources. Everything from grains, nuts, berries, seed and fruits rely on bee pollination. Seventy out of the top 100 human food crops that supplies nearly 90 percent of the
world’s nutrition are pollinated by bees. This makes the declining worldwide bee population ever more alarming.
There are several threats to bees contributing to the Colony Collapse Disorder and the decline in the bee population. One of the biggest culprits, are the harmful pesticides and herbicides applied to crops. The pesticides and herbicides poison the bees, disrupt their gut and change/destroy habitat where they forage. Thus, bees are left with inadequate forage and poor nutrition. For every 1 tablespoon of honey we eat, it takes a bee 2000 trips back and forth from the hive to make, so we need our bees healthy and strong!
Additional threats include mite infestations and gut parasites or diseases. Specifically, the varroa mite is the most problematic to the hive, potentially taking over a hive in a weakened state, unless preventative measures are taken. Here at Bee Groomed we inspect our hives regularly to stay ahead of these potential problems to keep our hives healthy and happy.
To do our part, we partake in sustainable and responsible management practices of our hives to ensure the health and well-being of our bees. We partner with our other local beekeepers for our beekeeping supplies and are members of several local and state beekeeper associations which provide education and resources to support a healthy bee population. In addition, a portion of every Bee Groomed sale is used toward building a new hive and growing the bee population. We appreciate your business and support to help save our bees and keep our ecosystem natural and strong for generations to come!