Sunday, May 27, 2012

Postcards from Paradise
The Bee Saga Continues

Photos by Fern Bray

How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour,
And gather honey all the day
From every opening flower. 
~ Isaac Watts~

Fun Facts about Honey Bees, Hives and Honey

brought to you by the Utah County Beekeepers Association,

  • There are three types of bees in the hive – Queen, Worker and Drone.
  • The queen may lay 600-800 or even 1,500 eggs each day during her 3 or 4 year lifetime. This daily egg production may equal her own weight. She is constantly fed and groomed by attendant worker bees.
  • Bees maintain a temperature of 92-93 degrees Fahrenheit in their central brood nest regardless of whether the outside temperature is 110 or -40 degrees.
  • A populous colony may contain 40,000 to 60,000 bees during the late spring or early summer.
  • Honey is 80% sugars and 20% water.
  • Honey bees fly at 15 miles per hour.
  • To make one pound of honey, the bees in the colony must visit 2 million flowers, fly over 55,000 miles and will be the lifetime work of approximately 300 bees.
  • A single honeybee will only produce approximately 1/12 teaspoon of honey in her lifetime.
  • A single honey bee will visit 50-100 flowers on a single trip out of the hive.
  • A honeycomb cell has six sides.
  • Bees produce honey as food stores for the hive during the long months of winter when flowers aren't blooming and therefore little or no nectar is available to them.
  • Honey bees' wings stroke 11,400 times per minute, thus making their distinctive buzz.
  • Honeybees are the only insect that produce food for humans.
  • Honey is the ONLY food that includes all the substances necessary to sustain life, including water.
  • A typical beehive can make up to 400 pounds of honey per year
  • Honeybees will usually travel approximately 3 miles from their hive.
  • Honeybees are the only bees that die after they sting.
  • Honey never spoils.
  • It would take about 1 ounce of honey to fuel a honeybee's flight around the world.
  • Honeybees are responsible for approx 80% of all fruit, vegetable and seed crops in the U.S.
  • Honeybees never sleep!
  • Flowers and other blossoming plants have nectarines that produce sugary nectar. Worker bees suck up the nectar and water and store it in a special honey stomach. When the stomach is full the bee returns to the hive and puts the nectar in an empty honeycomb. Natural chemicals from the bee's head glands and the evaporation of the water from the nectar change the nectar into honey.
  • Honeybees have five eyes, 3 small ones on top of the head and two big ones in front.  They also have hair on their eyes!
  • Bees communicate with each other by dancing and by using pheromones (scents)
  • Out of 20,000 species of bees, only 4 make honey.
  • Although Utah enjoys the title "The Beehive State," the top honey-producing states include California, Florida, and South Dakota.
Thanks for visiting!  
This post is linked to Postcards from Paradise
Stop in for a visit over there! 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy,  our life, our sweetness and our hope. 
To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve
to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. 
Turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, 
and after this our exile, 
show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus, 
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! 

Pray for us, O holy Mother of God,
that we made be made worthy 
of the promises of Christ.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bee Swarm Takes Up Residency!

I wanted to update the status of the bee swarm that my son found Saturday at his grandma's house.  Since they moved into their hive, they are happy campers.  They are out and about: gathering pollen, drinking water, and checking out us humans in their flight path.

This hive is known as the "North Denver Hive".  It is the original hive for this season.  Surrounded by flowers and bee ponds in Mom's garden, it is doing well.

The second hive "Wash Park", on the other hand, is not thriving as much.  There is a makeshift "umbrella" as this hive is in direct sun most of the day.  The people who had the swarm waited three days before they called for help.  Some of the bees had fallen to the ground, so the group is smaller.  Some bees may have also left.  It is the plight of the beekeeper.  

"East Evans" hive, where the bee swarm my son found now resides.  These silly bees don't use the front door.  

We've decided they must be teenagers, because they are sneaking in the back door....

Today my folks put up a new hive, so they will be ready for the next phone call.  Often when people find a swarm on their property, they contact Denver Bee Club.  Matt and Fern King are the people working with my mom to get her hives filled.  Whenever they are called to pick up a swarm, they contact local apiarists to see if they are ready for newcomers.  

I have yet to see them in action, but I've asked to be notified when the next swarm is delivered so I can be there! 

If you have a chance, check out the Denver Bee Club website.  They have an amazing photo gallery from around the world.  Take a look around while you are there, you will be glad you did. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Painting by Joseph Stella

Holy Mary, Mother of God,
you have given the world it's true light.
Jesus, your Son - the Son of God.
You abandoned yourself completely 
to God's call
and thus became a wellspring
of the goodness which flows forth from him.
Show us Jesus, Lead us to him.
Teach us to know and love him,
so that we too can become
capable of true love
and the fountains of a living water
in the midst of a thirsting world.

Pope Benedict XVI
God Is Love

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Postcards From Paradise:
Mom's Urban Wildlife Sanctuary

Bee Swarm

Today my son was mowing his Grandma's yard when he came upon a bee swarm on a low hanging branch of a tree.  I am so thankful to his Guardian Angel and Saint Gobnait (patron saint of beekeepers) for watching over him, he almost drove right into it! 

Luckily, Grandma is an apiarist, and happened to have an empty hive.  Earlier in the year she lost all four hives.  A neighbor continues to use pesticides in his yard, in spite of my mom's pleas to abstain.  The bees bring back the contaminated pollen and it wrecks havoc within the hive.  The bees eventually lose their sense of bearing while out gathering and never find their way back home.  With today's swarm, she is now back up to three hives.  

The boys and my mom donned bee suits and cut the tree branch down, carefully placing the swarm into a box covered with duct tape so the bees couldn't escape from the cracks.  They then took it to the waiting hive on the other side of the property and put the swarm into it's new home.   Not all bees went directly in, Mom had to scoop some strays up and pour them into the hive.  

I can't wait until tomorrow, to check the hive for inhabitants.  I hope they are happy and busy making the beginnings of more honey for our family.  

"The bee is more honored than other animals, not because she labors, but because she labors for others." 
~St John Chrysostom~


This post is linked up to Postcards from Paradise over at 

Please visit Rebecca's blog to see more.