We keep our hives bees on a lot across from the farm. We don’t keep them accessible to the public because they do sting on occasion. On a sunny day, you will see them drinking from the pond, gathering pollen from the flowers in the garden center and in our gardens around the farm and doing their work, pollinating inside the high tunnels. Without pollination many plants wouldn’t produce fruit or seeds.
Bees need a variety of flowering plants throughout the spring summer and fall, and they like most to visit the plants with smaller flowers heads, think Queen Ann’s Lace not Tulips. Our bees are not placed right in front of a big field of flowering clover of course so they have to work a little bit and search for a wide array of flowers. This produces a very unique and complex tasting honey. We harvest our “Honey from the Hood” in the fall and see it at the farmstand.
Colony Collapse Disorder, which is still being studied to determine its exact source, has had a serious impact on our environment. How’s that? Bees are the busiest food plant pollinators. Simply put, without bees we would lose many of our most common fruit and vegetable crops. The bees’ role in helping control the environment of the earth cannot be overestimated.
Despite ongoing tragic losses in numbers of honey bees worldwide, our bee keeper reports that we have some of the healthiest hives in town. Have we lost bees? Yes, but the cause is unclear. The cause of CCD is not definitively known though the most likely causes are GMO crops with built in poisons like pesticidal genes, as well as environmental stresses like over development and habitat loss.
Here are some interesting facts to make you love your bees as much as we do.
• For 4500 years humans have managed bee colonies.
• The number of managed hives in the US today is at its lowest point in 50 years.
• There are three types of bees within a colony: the workers, the drones and the queen. There is only one queen per hive. Worker bees are always non-reproducing female bees and interestingly, the only bees that will attack.
• Honey bees are not native to the United States.
• A strong colony contains 40-60,000 bees.
• Honey bees never sleep.
• Honey bees have 5 eyes.
• Bees can fly up to 15 miles per hour.
• Honey is the only food that contains all the necessary nutrients to sustain life.