We’re Buzzing about Bees and our New Backyard Beekeeping Basics Class
Bees are the world’s most important pollinators of food crops, yet their numbers are declining at an alarming rate. Do you want to know more about the ecological impact of the honeybee and learn a new way to make money in the process?
Beekeeping can encourage sustainability of our food systems and supply you with amazing fresh honey to sell. This class will introduce bee biology and behavior, hive selection and management throughout the year, bee diseases and pests, swarming behavior, beekeeping equipment, and bee products. All materials (a smoker, protective hood and leather gloves) are included.
Misconceptions about bees abound, let’s debunk some of the most popular:
- A honey bee cannot sting human repeatedly (they can sting other insects repeatedly to defend their hive). However, barbs in their stingers get caught in the skin of animals or humans they sting. As the bee flies away the stinger remains and the bee dies.
- Less than 5 percent of bee species make honey. Only honey bees and stingless bees produce enough honey to make it worth harvesting. Bumble bee hives may have a small amount, about one to two teaspoons. Bumble bees are annual, not perennial. They don’t need to produce a lot of honey to survive the winter.
- Solitary bees live only a few weeks, just long enough to mate, build nests and produce offspring. Honey and bumble bee workers and males live about six weeks. The workers spend half their time working on the hive and the other half foraging for pollen and nectar. The queens live longer. Bumble bee queens live up to one year, and honey bee queens can live up to four years.
Fun Facts about honey bees:
- Of the 100 crop varieties that provide 90% of the world’s food, 71 are pollinated by bees.
- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lists nearly 40 pollinator species as threatened or endangered, and several more are currently being considered.
- Honey bees are the only insect that produces food eaten by humans.
- Honey bees communicate with one another by dancing.
- A queen bee can lay up to 1500 eggs in one day and more than a million eggs in a lifetime!