## Tuesday, June 8, 2010

### Bees and Honey

Yesterday I talked about bee stings. But bees don't normally sting. They are too busy working. Just like we do, bees love sweet things. Here's a close-up of a bee in my kitchen, having lunch on a piece of ripe fig dipped in honey. I planted this sweet treat to attract her for a photo.

Here you can see she has some honey on her head and her legs. And her long tongue is sticking out. She went on to clean herself off before flying away.

Bees don't swim in honey and they can't fly when they are covered in it. Normally they keep it stored in tightly-capped cells inside the hive. It's their bank account for cold windy winter days.

We estimate that a bee can create 1-2 teaspoons of honey in her lifetime. That's about 2 months in the peak season (now) and about 5-6 months in the quieter time of year. My hive used to produce about 250 pounds of honey in a year.

Q. How many bees' lifetimes were required to create that 250 pounds of honey?

A. One ounce is about 6 teaspoons. Let's say 4 bees can make 6 teaspoons or one ounce. A pound of honey is 12 fluid ounces so that means we need 48-50 bees.

250 x 48 = 12,000 bees.

You can use software to convert honey amounts. Try this link to do some experiments in bee math. Honey amount converter   Or you can do the math using skills taught in our Excel Math curriculum.

Here's some honey with the comb and some irritated bees noticing that it's being stolen from them.

Here's how it looks coming out of the extractor, going into a bucket. Eventually it will go into jars.