Last week we dropped by Blackbury Honey Farm in East Devon to chat with Ken and Maureen about their family run business and their many busy bees. While we thought we knew a lot about these furry little insects, Ken – master beekeeper and honey aficionado – imparted some pretty amazing facts about honey bees that we think you’ll enjoy…
5 Facts about Honey Bees
Drones ( males) arise from unfertilised eggs, he has no father, only the queen for his mother.
The drone (male) bee mates with an unrelated virgin queen some miles from the home hive. He dies immediately as they couple in the air. Whether he lives just long enough to know that he has enjoyed himself is open to speculation. The queen goes on the mate with up to 20 other drones. It is alright for some!
The queen does not make the decisions, the worker bees do that in a form like ‘distributed processing’. No individual worker has the brain power on their own but by co-operating they can make big decisions.
Honey is not produced for us, it is for the bees to survive the flowerless winter periods when little nectar and pollen are available and when the inclement winter whether would mean that they couldn’t fly in any case. They honey from the summer fills their winter larder.
A hive that produces a 30lb surplus of honey for the beekeeper will probably have collected and used 270lb just for their own needs.