Since purchasing our first hives a couple of years ago, we have learnt a lot about Bees! Watching our busy little workers buzzing around the flowers makes me so happy. They not only produce such delicious honey but they help our garden flourish. Unfortunately, through intense farming and spraying the fields with chemicals, bees are sadly on the decline. They are so amazing and just so important to our existence. Bees perform a task that is vital to the survival of agriculture and pollination. The fact is that one third of our global food supply is pollinated by bees. Put this into simple terms, bees keep plants and crops alive! So, without Bees humans would starve as there wouldn’t be enough food for us all to eat. These are a few facts about our busy little friends:
1. Bees are such important pollinators for flowers, fruits and vegetables. This means that they help other plants grow! Bees transfer pollen between the male and female parts, allowing plants to grow seeds and fruit.
2. Honey bees live in hives (or colonies). The members of the hive are divided into three types: Queen: One queen runs the whole hive. Her job is to lay the eggs that will spawn the hive’s next generation of bees. The queen also produces chemicals that guide the behaviour of the other bees. Workers: these are all female and their roles are to forage for pollen and nectar, build and protect the hive, clean and circulate air by beating their wings. Workers are the only bees most people ever see flying around outside the hive. Drones: These are the male bees, and their purpose is to mate with the new queen. Several hundred live in each hive during the spring and summer. But come winter, when the hive goes into survival mode, the drones are kicked out!
3. What are these buzzing bugs most famous for? Delicious honey! But did you know they produce honey as food stores for the hive during winter? Luckily for us, these efficient little workers produce 2-3 time more honey than they need so we get delicious honey too. Apparently eating local honey helps with hayfever!
4. If the queen bee dies, workers will create a new queen by selecting a young larva (the newly hatched baby insects) and feeding it a special food called “royal jelly“. This enables the larva to develop into a fertile queen.
5. Honey bees can fly at a speed of around 25km per hour and beat their wings 200 times per second! If you are interested in keeping bees contact the British Beekeeper Association. www.bbka.org for more on how to go about this.
Beeswax is also in a lot of cosmetic products as it is so beneficial for dry and cracked skin. Some of our salves and hydrating balms contain this wonderful ingredient.