We have 6 hives at the moment and they are a constant fascination. Many things can be learned from the bees which often lead to related projects such as:
- Baking and Cooking
- Candle making
- Soap making
- Beauty Products
- Mead making
- Making salves
Some Bee Facts We Teach the Children
- Bees evolved about 35 million years ago.
- A hive of bees will fly approx 90,000 miles to collect 1kg of honey.
- Bees live in a group called colonies. Each colony has one queen. She is the largest of the bees.
- The female bees are called the worker bees and are the smallest of the bees. The males are called drones.
- A colony of bees consists of between 20,000 and 60,000 honeybees and the queen.
- Female bees do all the work and only live for about 6 weeks.
- The queen lays each egg in one cell of the honeycomb. When the egg hatches a little worm (lava) crawls out. The lava is fed by the worker bees with pollen and honey. After a short time the lava spins a web blanket inside the cell and becomes a pupa. After 16 -24 days the bee is mature and climbs out of the cell.
- Honey bees communicate by dancing. The movements tell them the location and direction of the food,
- During winter, honey bees feed on the honey they collected during the warmer months. They form a tight cluster in their hive to keep the queen and themselves warm.
- The hive is the colony’s home. The inside is made of wax which the bees produce themselves. Most of the bees along with the queen live in the bottom section of the hive. The top section contains the honey.
When the hive is full of honey and there is no more room for new eggs the worker bees go out and look for a new place to start a new colony. After the queen has mated she leaves the hive taking half of the worker bees with her to the new location. The bees from the original colony bring on a new queen to continue its existence.
Honey is the only food to contain everything humans need to sustain life.
Einstein said that if bees disappeared from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live.
Honeybees improve the environment and do not prey on any other species.
Only worker bees sting and only when they feel threatened. Once they sting they die.
THE HONEY BEE NEEDS HELP
Honey bees are under threat worldwide because of a loss of habitat and flora, changes in farming practices, pesticides and viruses against which they have no natural defences. There are many practical ways in which you can help. Every year local beekeeping associations run courses to help new people to take up beekeeping and will help and advise you. Beekeeping training courses are usually run in the spring. For information visit:
The British Beekeepers’ Association (BBKA) website to find a local association in your area.
Another useful site is www.helpthe honeybee.co.uk/
Whilst beekeeping isn’t for everyone we can all make a difference by growing more flowers in our own gardens. If possible, plan your flower beds so that it offers continuous and varied supplies from spring to autumn. This will encourage the bees to keep coming back.
The bees are particularly attracted to blue, violet, yellow and white. They don’t actually see the colour red – it seems black to them.
Some of the bee’s favourite flowers, shrubs and herbs are:
Sunflowers, cosmos, cornflowers, aubrietia, black-eyed susan, verbena, lavender, heather, sweet pea, honeysuckle, delphinium, asters, thyme, goldenrod, forget-me-not, foxglove, borage, comfrey, hyssop, lemon balm, mint and buddleia.
A combination of these would make a really lovely area for the bees to feast. They also love wild flowers, therefore if you are able to set up a wild flower area also that would be wonderful.
Don’t use pesticides in your garden. If pesticides kill bugs, they can’t be beneficial to the bees.
If possible plant your flowers in a sunny spot in your garden.
In addition to providing water for the birds, the bees really enjoy a drink too! In fact water is essential to them.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF HONEY
There are so many health benefits to raw honey. It is truly a super food. It is a powerful booster to the immune system. It is antibacterial and antiviral.
It has antiseptic properties which will clean wounds and inhibits bacterial growth. It promotes healing and prevents infections.
Hay fever sufferers. Take local raw honey before the allergy season. You will build up your immunity and prevent your body over reacting to the summer pollen.
Most honey in the supermarkets is not raw honey. It has been pasteurized and processed to look nice in their jars. Unfortunately this destroys all the beneficial properties.
Whatever home remedy you may use honey for it is important to remember that the curative properties are destroyed when mixed with anything too hot.
If you are interested in the amazing properties of honey and its medicinal and beauty benefits there are many excellent web sites available for you to research.
WHAT IS BEESWAX?
Honey is not the only fantastic product that the honey bee gives us.
Beeswax is a by-product of extracting honey. Each individual cell in the honeycomb is sealed with a wax cover – these are called cappings. Before the honey can be extracted from the frame the cappings have to be removed by scraping them off with a blade or something similar. This wax then has to go through several processes to be filtered and remove the impurities before it can be used as pure beeswax.
Beeswax candles can be burned around people with allergies or who are sensitive to chemical scents.
A pure beeswax candle creates an aura of peace and serenity that cannot be matched by any other kind of candle.
Beeswax emits negative ions when it burns. Negative ions help to clean the air of dust, smoke and pollen. Negative ions can help reduce fatigue.
Burning beeswax candles helps you feel calmer.
Beeswax is non-toxic and non carcinogenic unlike parrafin candles which create indoor air pollution and are made from petroleum sludge, highly refined and treated with carcinogenic chemicals. The black smoke that paraffin candle emits is basically diesel exhaust.
We sell pure beeswax pellets at The Beehive Shop or online at www.dyeing-crafts.co.uk