Bee Facts | Buzz Beekeeping Supplies - Part 2

Bee Facts

How Bees Make Honey : How do they do it?

Bees are considered to be one of the most productive and hardworking organisms on planet. The process of how bees make honey hOW_BEES_MAKE_HONEYis intricate and efficient. Each of the bees has a special work to do which makes their honey-making process smooth.

How do They Do It?

The bees make two different kinds of food. One from the nectar and the other from the anthers – particularly the pollen – of the flowers they land on.  The bees that do this job are the forager honey bees.

Here’s how bees make honey:

hOW_BEES_MAKE_HONEYOnce the weather clears up to welcome the warm season, the bees start their foraging journey. As they land on the flower, they suck the nectar up and store it on her honey-containing stomach. And if the bee is hungry, she sucks up some of the nectar and opens a special valve in her stomach to store the nectar in and provide it with the energy it needs to continue foraging.

The amazing thing about the bees is that it can carry pollen equal to its body weight. When the bee’s stomach is full, they go back to their hives and pass out the nectar to the bees assigned indoors. The process of converting the nectar into honey is through passing the nectar from one bee’s mouth to another in order to reduce the moisture by 70%.

Finally, the final step on how bees make honey is placing the honey inside the storage which are then covered by beeswax in the preparation for another batch of bee larvae. The pollen left on the bodies of the bees is mixed with the nectar which serves as the food for the baby bees. This step is necessary for the colony to flourish.

Another amazing fact about the bees is that before they go out to collect another batch of pollen, they clean themselves first. This is not just for aesthetic purposes but they do this in order to make themselves even more efficient in collecting pollen.

How Bees Make Honey ?


An Introduction to the Top Bar Hives

The Advantages of a Top Bar Hive – If you’re new to the beekeeping business, then you have to be knowledgeable of the different hives you can put your bees in. One type is the top bar hive which is perfect for small time beekeeping business.TOP BAR HIVE

The Top Bar Hive is a simple single box type hive. The bees require a different type of environment for the processes. Unlike other types of hives, the Top Bar Hive is a self-containing box where the bees can do their yearly functions in one place.

The Structure

The length of the top bar hive is one of the most important considerations bee keepers should make in the structure. According to the experts, a 3-foot long or larger is recommended. If the hive’s length is lesser than that, it can result to the bees filling the box immediately. This means that, there will be lesser or no honey that will be harvested.

Top Bar Hives have top bars (which is where it got its name) made of wood laid on the top where the bees can make their comb. Each top bar is placed across the hive with one end on the front and another on the back.

The Advantages of a Top Bar Hive

1. Harvesting

Compared to other hive options, for instance the Langstroth hive, harvesting honey from a top bar hives require less specialized tools. Even tools such as a kitchen knife, cheesecloth, and an ordinary bowl will do.

This is how it’s usually done: The honey comb is cut off using a kitchen knife in order to open it and with the help of cheesecloth, separate it from the wax to collect the honey.

TOP-BAR-HIVE2. Better Pest Control

Varroa mites are extremely destructive to bee hives and colonies. These pests live on the extra space of the cell and strive along with the bee larvae. In top bar hives, the bees create cells that are just enough for their size, leaving no room for the Varroa mites to strive in. Although you may still face some Varroa mite-related problems, the problem will be lesser compared to other types of hives.

3. Better in the Winter

Since the Longstroth hives are made up of stacked boxes, the heat rises up to the top leaving the bottom cold. The bees need to be warm in order to carry out their normal processes. Top bar hives, being horizontal, retains the warmness throughout the box and makes it easier for the bees to make honey in the winter.

 An Introduction to the Top Bar Hives



Colony Collapse Disorder and Its Impact on the Economy

           Colony Collapse Disorder – One of the most common problems that bee keepers face is the colony collapse disorder that kills their Colony_Collapse_Disorderbees as well as the hives that those bees have established.  This phenomenon causes the worker bees to die at an alarming rate thereby leaving their queen and immature bees behind. It’s important for bee keepers and those planning to raise bees to be aware of this problem so that they will be able to educate themselves with what to do should this happen to them.

Facts About Colony Collapse Disorder

Everyday, billions of bees are go out of their hive to gather food (mostly, nectar) and pollinate. However, recently, the bees that left to hunt for food are mysteriously not coming back. Let’s look at the facts that might shed light to this phenomenon.

– The problem was first discovered in the year 2006 and 2007 where the bee keepers reported an alarming decline on their bees and colonies. Most of the owners find dead bees near the hives and the queen left alone with the young which eventually led to the death of all bee workers in a hive and the collapse of the colony (hence, Colony Collapse Disorder).

– The cause for this phenomenon hasn’t been discovered as of yet however, scientists and experts have think that it’s partly because of the fact that the pesticides alone could have weakened the bees immune system or worse, killed them. This led them to believe that the Colony Collapse Disorder could have been caused by acute pesticide poisoning.

Colony_Collapse_Disorder– Another theory of scientists is the increase in the Varroa Mite population, the newly emerged Acute Paralysis, and the gut parasite common in bees called Nosema.

– Keepers experience the most loss in their honeybee population during the winter. However, on 2015, they were able to experience more loss on summer than on winter. If the loss continues to rise, there’s no stopping them from going extinct by the year 2035.

The Effect on the Economy

The honeybees are known to be the best pollinator species. For most of their life, they buzz around from flower to flower collecting pollen and nectar. This, in turn, leads to the propagation of fruits, flowers, and other agricultural products that are sold in the market.

The 40% decline in the honeybee species in 2006 resulted the economy immensely. The loss led to the 15-30 billion dollar decline in the agricultural productivity. The normal American diet consist of 15-30 percent of crops and the decline of the honeybee colonies due to the colony collapse was causing a great danger to the agricultural world as well as the American economy. The decline in the crops led to an increase in demand. Producers as well as keepers were forced to top off the original price of their products to address the problem.

Moreover, colony collapses doesn’t just affect the crops. It also affects the supply of dairy and beef since honeybees also help in the pollination of hays, clover, and forage products. This also led to the increase in the prices of milk and beef products in the market.

Colony Collapse Disorder and Its Impact on the Economy


The Main Stock of Honey Bees in the US – Carniolan Bees and Others

How many types of honey bees are there?

The Italian Honey Bee (Apis mellifera ligustica)carniolan-bees

The Italian Honey Bees is the one group of bees which is the most used of honey bee stock. As the name has indicated, this type of bee originated from Italy brought to the United Sates from way back in 1859. They are known for their prolific brood cycles and production, gentle nature and reluctance to swarm. The Italian Honey Bees are excellent producers that is why most commercial beekeepers use these bees as their main source of production. These bees are very light in color that their yellowness is very pleasing to the eyes making it easy to identify compared to other bees. Italian Honey Bees are great for almost any beekeeper due to their well-rounded nature and availability in packages and nucs.

The Russian Bee (from Primorsky Krai region of Russia)

The Russian bees were introduced to the US way back in 1997. The USDA brought these types of bees to help with the increase of colony collapse disorder happening because of some parasites. These Russian Bees are said to have the natural capacity of colony tolerance against varroa destructors and tracheal mites, which are both external parasitic mites that attack honey bees.

These bees are heavily reliant on the environment which makes them tend to rear brood only during timed of nectar and pollen flows. The Russian Bees are more difficult for “newbie” beekeepers to have.

The Carniolan Bee (Apis mellifera carnica)


There are two popular bee stocks in the United States and one is the famous Carniolan Bees. These bees originate from Europe wherein they were bred to be more tolerant towards the cold climate, especially over winter.

This type of honey bee is ideal for beekeepers who are aiming to build up before summer time because of their explosive spring build-up. Other reasons why some beekeepers prefer the Carniolan bees is that they have the longest tongues which helps pollinate crops like clover. In result, they gather more nutritional resources for the benefit of their colony compared to other bee stock. Slovenia beekeepers have made Carniolan bees to be their favorite!

The Caucasian Bee (Apis mellifera caucasica)

The Caucasian Bees were very popular, but because of how slow their honey production is, some honey producers in the United States are no longer interested as much in having them around. But not everything about the Caucasian bee is bad! In fact, they have even longer tongues compared to the Carniolan bees. Although, these two bees do share the same temperament.

Even though this stock is slower, they still are capable of working efficiently especially on how these bees don’t proceed to a new comb without first filling the previous one.

The Buckfast Bee (The mutt of honey bee stock)carniolan bees

The Buckfast Bee stock originates from Buckfast Abby, UK, hence the name. This type is a common favorite among beekeepers in the British Isles. Buckfast bees shows high resistance towards some natural parasites. They have stronger foraging skills and they do not swarm often, making it difficult to look for within the United States.

If a beekeeper can monitor & handle the increasingly aggressive behavior of this type, the Buckfast Bee can last for longer years without the need of frequent replacement.

The European Dark Bee (Apis mellifera mellifera)

The European Dark Bee (also known as the German Dark Bee) originated from the Northern Eurasia in the colonial era. This type is  difficult to maintain. This subspecies has since then been segmented further into sub races of German Bees due to its the ability to endure difficult conditions making it easy for them to survive long & cold winters compared to other types.The European Dark Bee have a very defensive nature and are susceptible to brood diseases such as the American & European Foulbrood making it less favored towards most beekeepers.

This strain is most probably not available in the United States because this is not actually a good choice especially for beginners who are not familiar with natural diseases and parasites.

The Africanized Bee (The Misunderstood Bee)caniolan bees

The Africanized Bees (most commonly known as the Killer Bee) is not from Africa but are actually from Brazil. This type of honey bee was a an experiment hybrid from a lab wherein the goal was to increase their resistance towards parasites and pests and also to have it increase in population. The Africanized bees show great promise because they produce more honey at a faster pace than others. They forage since these bees were at a young age.


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