September is National Honey Month! In honor of this sweet treat we couldn’t help but make a post about the little creatures that make honey possible – honey bees!
Honeybees fly from flower to flower, sipping nectar and collecting grains of pollen. Bees have a special tongue that sucks up the nectar and a place in their throat for storing it until they get back to the hive, where it is turned into honey to use as food.
Honeybees live in colonies with one queen running the whole hive. Worker honeybees are all females and are the only bees most people ever see flying around outside of the hive. They gather food, build and protect the honeycombs and the hive and also clean and circulate air by beating their wings.
Honeybee hives produce honey as food for themselves, but they also produce honey and beeswax as part of a large beekeeping industry.
Honeybees are important pollinators for flowers, fruits, and vegetables. They live on stored honey and pollen all winter and cluster into a ball to conserve warmth.
The queen’s job is simple — she lays the eggs that will create the hive’s next generation of bees. There is usually only a single queen in a hive. If the queen dies, workers will create a new queen by feeding one of the worker females a special food called “royal jelly.” This elixir enables the worker to develop into a fertile queen.
Queens regulate the hive’s activities by producing chemicals that guide the behavior of the other bees.
- A queen can lay as many as 2,000 eggs in a single day.
- She can live for four or five years and will produce about two million eggs over her lifetime.
- About 80,000 bees can inhabit one colony.