Bee Way Honey Pollination

Honey & Beekeeping FAQ'S

Frequently Asked Questions about honey

How much honey does a honeybee produce in a year?

What has caused the massive loss of honeybees in the last few years?

Do the honeybees make honey from pollen?

Will bacteria survive in honey?

What is the difference between Creamed and Raw honey?

Do Bumble Bees make honey?

What is the difference between light colored honey and dark honey?

What do honeybees do in the winter?



How much honey does a honeybee produce in a year?

Although a colony of honeybees (40,000 or more in the summer) can easily produce over a hundred pounds of honey, a single honeybee produces only about a teaspoonfull in her life.


What has caused the massive loss of honeybees in the last few years?

Honeybee colonies are being decimated by varroa mites. Varroa mites are a mite the size of a pin head that grows on the honeybee pupae and causes the honeybees to weaken and die.

More information about our bees and mites


Do the honeybees make honey from pollen?

NO!

Flowers produce both nectar and pollen to attract pollinating insects.

The bees bring nectar back to the hive and concentrate it, sort of in the same fashion that maple syrup is made from dilute maple sap, and turn it into honey.

When they visit the flowers, they get pollen all over themselves and pack it into pouches on the sides of their legs, and bring it back to the hive. The pollen is then packed into cells around the brood nest.

The honey is the carbohydrate part of their diet, and the pollen is the protein part (think beans).


Will bacteria survive in honey?

Honey has bacteria fighting properties! Honey soaks up water like a powerful sponge. Therefore, living organisms in honey tend to lose much of their life supporting moisture to the honey and their growth is effectively stopped. Honey has historically been used for wounds and first aid for cuts, abrasions and burns.


What is the difference between Creamed and Raw honey?

Not very much. Creamed honey sometimes has finely granulated crystals of honey blended in to insure a very fine texture. Raw honey is straight from the extractor. Most of our creamed honey is completely raw.


Do Bumble Bees make honey?

Yes, but only a few pounds. The bumble bee colony will average about 250 bees in the summer (honeybees about 50,000) and produce 1-2 lbs of honey (a honeybee colony will produce 50 - 250 lb). Only the queen will live over the winter.

To begin with lets take a look at a bumble bee and her distant cousin the honey bee, with whom she is most often confused. Unlike the honey bee the humble bumble is gentle and slow. As she trundles around the garden collecting pollen and nectar she is quite different to her streamlined relative who dashes about everywhere. Even her body shape is different. The bumble is round and furry and not at all like her more wasp shaped cousin. In fact there are three kinds of bumble bees, the large Queen, the smaller imperfectly formed female worker bee and the tiny male or drone bee. All are seen at different times of year. Only the Queen and the worker bees have a sting.


What is the difference between light colored honey and dark honey?

The specific flavor of each honey depends on the particular nectar the bees gather. When bees collect nectar from large growths of one certain blossom, the honey is labeled "single-flower" honey; examples are clover, lavender, sunflower and star thistle. Sometimes bees gather nectar from a variety of sources, making multi-floral honey called "wildflower". Flavors range from light and fruity to tangy and rich.

As a general rule, light-colored honey is mild in flavor, while dark honey is more assertive. Clover, acacia, basswood and orange blossom are some of the lighter varieties; they make wonderful sweeteners for cereal, tea, fruit salads and salad dressings. In the middle range, you find star thistle, Florida tupelo, sage, alfalfa and honeys from berry blossoms, which add a stronger flavor. Dark honey, such as buckwheat, is used like brown sugar or molasses; it works well on oatmeal and in pancakes and whole-grain breads. Flavored honeys are those to which flavoring agents, such as fruit or herb essences, have been added

In a study that analyzed 19 samples of honey from 14 different floral sources, University of Illinois scientists found that honey made from nectar collected from Illinois buckwheat flowers packs 20 times the antioxidant punch as that produced by bees that lap up California sage. Clover, perhaps the most common plant source tapped by honey bees, scored in the middle of the rankings.

Sources:


What do honeybees do in the winter?

Whenever the air temperature drops below 55 degrees or so, the honeybees start to form a ball shaped cluster inside the beehive. The colder it gets, the "tighter" the cluster is. Even with zero degrees outside the temperature inside the cluster may be 90 degrees.

Usually in November the queen stops laying eggs and raising more honeybees. In January the brood raising resumes with sometimes only a small patch of brood (baby bees) and then the bees gradually increase it as the warmer temperatures resume.

In the winter the honeybees maintain this inner hive temperature by consuming honey and "shivering" which creates heat. The outside layer of bees become very cold and they are frequently rotated inside the cluster and replaced with other bees.

The only time the bees leave the hive in the winter is when the weather breaks and it is 30 degrees or so and then the bees take short flights to relieve themselves of feces. Many times the beekeeper will see lots of bees in the snow that got too cold and never made it back.


Bee Way Honey © 2006

17496 SE Hemrick Rd

Damascus OR 97089

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