Frequently Asked Questions

People often have many questions about honey bees, but some we hear over and over. Hopefully we can answer a few of them here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do all bees sting you and die?

If a female honey bee stings you it will die. The stinger is pulled from the bees’ abdomen as it pushes to remove itself from the barded stinger and tears its own body. Male honeybees do not have stingers.

Do you get stung?

We do. But not very often because we wear protective gear and try to use smooth careful movements when we are working in and around the hives.

How do you get the honey out?

Getting the honey out of the hive and honeycomb is called harvest and extraction. You remove frames of honey from the hive as carefully as possible. After the honey has been removed and the bees fly back home, you can bring in the honey frames for extraction. This can be done in a few ways. Smaller beekeepers and hobbyists may use a crush and strain method where they crush the honeycomb to release the honey inside and then strain the wax out. This wax can then be rendered for candles or other use. Another way is to use a hand crank or electric extractor to spin the honey out of the frames. These frames must have the wax caps opened by a scrapping knife or heated knife to open the cells. This second method allows the frames to put back in the hive for bees to reuse.

Are there boy and girl bees?

Yes. The hive has 3 kinds of bees. Female Workers, Male Drones, and One Female Queen. In a hive during peak summer there can be approximately 50,000 bees; about 200 drones, one queen and the rest are workers.

What’s a queen bees job?

The queen’s job is the lay all the eggs for the colony. Her scent, or pheromones regulate the hive and keep everyone happy and working hard. She can lay up to 2,000 eggs a day.

Can you eat beeswax?

Yes. Beeswax is edible. One of the most amazing things you will ever taste is freshly harvested honey filled beeswax as you crush it in your mouth.

What’s happening to the bees? What’s Colony Collapse Disorder?

Many beekeepers have different ideas about what is negatively affecting the bees. There are three things that are at the top of the list, in our opinion. First, pesticides. You can’t deny that a product that is meant to chemically effect insects would be bad for bees. Bees don’t want to eat food that is covered in pesticides. Second, monocultures. This is a condition where the bees have very little to harvest because the area where they live features one main crop making it difficult to find things to forage through all the seasons. And Third, bee pests, most notably, Varroa Mites. This pest will get into a hive from foraging bees, infect the brood and create bees that cannot fight against other diseases and infections and will slowly kill a hive.

I don’t want to keep bees, but how can I help them?

There are many things you can do to support the bees. First, buy local. Support your local beekeepers (by local we mean any area that shares your local flora and foraging options). Plant for the bees. Plant things that bees can extract nectar from and varieties that bloom at different times through the seasons, from early spring through late fall. Bees love purples and yellows, but research online what blooms good for bees in your area.

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