Education (Bees, Honey, Other Pollinators)
Honey and Bees (An amazing story)
(The following article is from the Honey Board. Please visit their site for more information on Honey and bees.)
Why do Bees Make Honey? Honeybees collect nectar and store it as honey in their hives. Nectar and honey provide the energy for the bees’ flight muscles and for heating the hive during the winter period. Honeybees also collect pollen which supplies protein for bee brood to grow.
Honey bees live in colonies that are often maintained, fed, and transported by beekeepers. Centuries of selective breeding by humans have created honey bees that produce far more honey than the colony needs. Beekeepers harvest the honey. Beekeepers provide a place for the colony to live and to store honey in. The modern beehive is made up of a series of square or rectangular boxes without tops or bottoms placed one on top of another. Inside the boxes, frames are hung in parallel, in which bees build up the wax honeycomb in which they both raise brood and store honey. Modern hives enable beekeepers to transport bees, moving from field to field as the crop needs pollinating and allowing the beekeeper to charge for the pollination services they provide.
A colony generally contains one breeding female, or “queen”; a few thousand males, or “drones”; and a large population of sterile female “worker” bees. The population of a healthy hive in mid-summer can average between 40,000 and 80,000 bees. The workers cooperate to find food and use a pattern of “dancing” to communicate with each other.
Bee Stings and "Allergic" Reactions
Bee Stings and "Allergic" Reactions1
A bee sting is always potentially serious. The severity and duration of a reaction can vary from one person to another. In addition, one's own reaction to a bee sting may differ between occurrences. Most persons experience a local non-serious allergic reaction to bee venom. However, depending on the location and number of bee stings received, as well as the ever-present possibility of a severe allergic reaction to bee venom, a serious reaction can be precipitated that can be life-threatening.
The honey bee's barbed sting cannot be withdrawn by the insect once it has penetrated the skin. The bee's only means of escape is to tear away part of its abdomen leaving behind the sting with its venom sac attached. The muscles of the sting apparatus continue to pulsate after the bee has flown away, driving the sting deeper into the skin and injecting more venom. For this reason the sting apparatus should be scraped (not pulled) out of the skin as soon as possible after a sting is received.
Fun Facts about Honey Bees
This website is setup in groupings of topics so beekeepers may print out a copy and use for educational purposes as a guide for a basic bee talk for everyone from school kids to adult programs may enjoy.
Video: Dancing Honey Bee
Dancing Honeybee Using Vector Calculus to Communicate
Video: The Waggle Dance
Bee Dance (Waggle Dance)