Honey bees are flying insects that live in complex social organizations called colonies. They build wax comb in nests to raise young and store food. Adult bees are either male or female. Females consist of two castes: queen bees and workers. Honey bees divide labor and work collectively for the benefit of the colony.
A drone bee is a male developed from a queen’s unfertilized egg. Larger than workers, a drone’s sole purpose is to mate with a virgin queen. Drones perform no other hive tasks and cannot sting. Since they have a limited function, the colony controls the drone population, so they do not burden resources.
A worker bee is an infertile female unable to reproduce. A queen bee’s pheromones suppress the workers’ reproductive organs. In their 45-day lifespan, workers perform most of the tasks needed in a hive. Workers forage for resources, make honey, nurse brood, and guard the hive, among other responsibilities.
Bee suits are white because honey bees are reputed to dislike dark colors as a defense mechanism against predators such as bears, raccoons, and skunks. Equally important, white absorb less heat from the summer sun than darker colors, making whites suits more comfortable for the beekeeper than a darker suit.
A queenless hive needs prompt attention to avoid the loss of an entire colony. This article describes how to assess if the hive is queenright and what to do if it is not.
Honey bees collect nectar, pollen, and water to create three nutritional foods: honey, bee bread, and royal jelly. A beekeeper may feed honey bees protein supplements for pollen or sugar substitutes for nectar.
Honey bees collect pollen (protein), nectar (carbs), and water as primary food sources and use them as building blocks for honey, bee bread, and royal jelly.
A honeybee garden that provides pollen and nectar rich plants throughout the year may give your colonies the boost they need. Here are plants to consider.
The aptly named Varroa destructor mite is virtually unavoidable. Learn how to monitor and manage it to minimize its impact and maintain healthy, surviving colonies.
The honey bee life cycle is 4 stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Learn about each stage to gain insights into your colony’s development and health.