Bee Keeping

INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT THE HONEY BEE

Did you know...

Honey never spoils. No need to refrigerate it. It can be stored unopened, indefinitely, at room temperature in a dry cupboard.

Due to the high level of fructose, honey is 25% sweeter than table sugar . . .

Bee KeepingHoney is created when bees mix plant nectar, a sweet substance secreted by flowers, with their own bee enzymes.

To make honey, bees drop the collected nectar into the honeycomb and then evaporate it by fanning their wings.

Honey has different flavors and colors, depending on the location and kinds of flowers the bees visit. Climatic conditions of the area also influence its flavor and color. NZ's Rata honey is nearly white, Manuka honey is rich ginger-brown and Black Beech honeydew honey is dark brown.

To keep their hives strong, beekeepers must place them in locations that will provide abundant nectar sources as well as water. There are nearly 5000 beekeepers in New Zealand although the majority are hobbyists with less than 10 hives.

Bee Keeping The queen bee is the busiest in the summer months, when the hive needs to be at its maximum strength. She will lay about 1,000 to 1,500 eggs per day, without sleeping. In the cold winter months, bees will leave the hive only to take a short cleansing flight. They are fastidious about the cleanliness of their hive.

Honeybees do not die out over the winter, but reduce numbers by throwing out the old, the weak and drones. They feed on the honey they collected during the warmer months and patiently wait for spring by forming a tight cluster in their hive to keep the queen and themselves warm. They may forage on sunny days and collect nectar and some queens will lay, but less.

Bee Keeping It takes approximately 15 kilos of honey to provide enough energy for a small colony of bees to survive the winter. Honeybee colonies have unique odours, much like your house smells different from other people's. All the individual bees in a colony smell enough alike so that the guard bees can identify them. Nurse bees work inside the hive. Their job is to make royal jelly, feed and clean the larvae, queen and drones.

House bees clean away the dead, make wax and comb, heat/cool the hive, receive nectar and make honey, put it into the comb, sealing it with wax.

Bee KeepingA honeybee visits between 50 and 100 flowers during one collection flight from the hive. In order to produce 1 kg of honey, about 4 million flowers must be visited. A hive of bees must fly 55,000 miles to produce a pound of honey. One bee colony can produce up to 150kg of honey per year. An average worker bee makes only about ½ to 1 teaspoon of honey in its lifetime.

At the peak of the honey-gathering season, a strong, healthy hive will have a population of approximately 50,000 bees. Honey is the primary food source for the bee. The reason honeybees are so busy collecting nectar from flowers and blossoms is to make sufficient food stores for their colony over the winter months. The nectar is converted to honey by the honeybee and stored in the wax honeycomb.