Originally posted by Domo1
Really cool thread. I enjoyed your daughters narration too, she seems adorable.
When it's too hot, the worker bees will align themselves with the exit and fan their wings, keeping the hive cool.
So ow much maintenance is actually required? Could you set up hives at a remote location and get away with only checking them every 4 months or is it
more of a weekly thing? I could see setting up some hives on more remote property in order to have something to barter with in some extreme
situation. How long does honey keep? Can you buy bees or do you have to find a hive out and about? I was surprised to learn the workers are female,
thought they were all male for some reason. What's the difference between the queen and a normal female? What do the males do? I'll stop, I just
think this is pretty neat.
Not much really. 4 times a year. We have our inspector come once a year, and he'll come out again upon request. Remember, on that yearly visit, he
signs a certification.
There is no reason to inspect your hives weekly. None at all. As long as you see bees going in and out, they're fine, as long as there are
crops/wildflowers nearby, they will do their thing.
Honey keeps forever. It doesn't spoil, or go bad. It will crystallize after about 4 years, but a double-boiler returns it to it's liquid state.
You can buy bees, yes, a starter package for about 69 bucks. It comes with a queen, and about 10,000 bees. Last summer we bought two more
"packages", brought up from a reputable farm in North Carolina, and they were our strongest hives to last harvest. Adding genetic diversity to your
hives is a good thing, as a queen bee mates only once in her life, and gets impregnated during flight in the spring, having sex with over a hundred
drones from all the nearby hives, during one mating flight.
In the air, being a whore, well, it only happens once per queen. She'll have enough eggs to lay about 50,000 eggs per season, for 3-4 years, then
she will be superceded (replaced) by a new queen.
A queen bee differs from a normal female bee in the fact that she is MUCH larger. She is also the only bee in the hive that emits pheromones. A
queen is the only bee in the hive that lays eggs, and the other female bees to all the "dirty work", cleaning the hive, foraging for pollen,
regurgitating honey, and capping full cells of honey.
Male bees in the hive are drones. They are slightly bigger than female foragers, but they serve the purpose of tending the young larvae. Yes, the
male bees are the "stay at home" dads. They feed the young, and cap the cells of the young when the young is ready to be born. They also dictate
when to create a new queen. See, they tend to the inner workings of the hive, and yes, they are responsible for hatching out well over 30,000 new
bees per season. If the queen isn't laying eggs up to their liking, they take "royal jelly", something only they can make, and feed it to several
new larvae to create a new queen. Also, they are tasked with feeding the queen of the hive, as she does not eat on her own. The drones supply her
with the "royal jelly" that they secrete, and that is all a queen bee eats during the course of her life.
In short, the drones are the "men of the house", making all the decisions, and the females do all the work. It's really a fascinating study when
you consider that it has been going on for millions of years, and humans are just now fully understanding how hives work.