Honey Bees

Honey Bee, Vancouver Island, BC, Photo By Bud Logan
Honey Bee, Vancouver Island, BC, Photo By Bud Logan

Honey Bees are close relatives of wasps and ants. They can be found on every continent except Antarctica. They have been very common on the coast for as long as l can remember but in 2015, l was unable to find a single honey bee. This has got me quite nervous, to say the least. If you were able to observe them on the Island in 2015, please let me know about it. It is estimated that 1/3 of our food supply depends on insect pollination.

Honey Bees are social insects that live in colonies. The hive population consists of 1 queen, a few drones plus thousands of worker bees. The honeybees forage for nectar and pollen from flowering plants. They use the nectar they collect for food for themselves and to feed the young bees of the nest.

Worker bees are up to 99% of the population of each hive. These bees are all female, and they do almost everything for the hive.  Worker bees are responsible for feeding the young,  looking after the queen,  collecting food,  building honeycomb, and defending the hive.

Male bees are the drones. Their only job is to mate with the queens of other hives. When they do mate, they die immediately afterward. If they do not mate, they can live up to 90 days. You can identify drones in the hive by their bigger bodies and large eyes. The drones have no stinger. The Queen is the only egg producer in the hive and can lay up to 1500 eggs a day, she can live for up to 7 years.

Update, this year, 2016, we have many honey bees showing up, it’s so good to see them return again. I was pretty nervous about it all.

A message from Bud

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