Our Busy Bees
The farm at Young’s Greenhouse is home to four honey bee hives and they are buzzing with activity. While these bees will not bother our patrons (they’re actually quite docile) they have a very important job to do. About a third of the food Americans eat is directly or indirectly derived from honeybee pollination. The bees on our farm are vital to pollinating our vast acres of plants, vegetables and fruit trees.
Not only do these bees help our vegetation flourish, they also help produce locally sourced honey and honey products. The honeybee is the only insect that produces food eaten by man. It takes about 556 worker bees and two million flowers to make one pound of honey. This honey sustains the hive during the winter. Luckily for us, these efficient little workers produce two to three times more honey than they need.
The hives are made up of three kinds of bees:
The Queen lays all of the eggs that will spawn the hive. Each hive typically has one queen. If the queen dies, workers will create a new queen by feeding one of the female larvae an exclusive diet of a food called “royal jelly.”
Worker Bees are the bees that you see flying about. These female bees are not sexually developed and are responsible for collecting the pollen and nectar which sustains the rest of the hive. They also build and protect the hive. On average, a worker bee in the summer lives six to eight weeks during which time they have an average honey production of 1/12 of a teaspoon. In their short lifetime, they fly the equivalent of one and a half times the circumference of the earth, so it’s not surprising their most common cause of death is wearing their wings out.
Drone Bees are the male honey bees. Several hundred live in the hive during spring and summer to mate with the queen. However, they are booted when the hive goes into survival mode during winter months.