Mundo Alquímico: Sustainable from Start to Finish
Honey Bees do It! Types, Importance and Future of our Beloved Honey Producers
Includes the familiar honeybee (Apis) and bumblebee (Bombus and Psithyrus)
Size: from about 2 mm to 4 cm (about 0.08 to 1.6 inches).
History of honeybees
The honey bee insect of all kinds, belong to the order of insects known as Hymenoptera, literally “membrane wings”. This order, comprising some 100,000 species, also includes wasps, ants, ichneumons and sawflies.
Of the 25,000 or more described species of bees (more are recognised every year) the majority are solitary bees most of which lay their eggs in tunnels, which they excavate themselves.
In some species small numbers of females may share a single tunnel system and in other cases there may be a semi/social organisation involving a hierarchical order among the females.
These bees provide a supply of food (honey and pollen) for the larvae, but there is no progressive feeding of the larvae by the adult bees.
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Types of honeybees and what they do
- Secrete the wax used in the bee hive, and form it into honeycombs.
- Forage for all of the pollen and nectar brought into the bee hive.
- Transform the nectar into honey.
- Defend the bee hive against intruders and maintain optimal conditions by heating, cooling, and ventilating the hive.
- Feed themselves directly from honey cells in the bee hive, or beg for food from worker bees.
- They are reared chiefly before new queens are produced, ensuring that each drone will be available to mate with emerging queens.
- They eat, rest, and patrol mating sites (drone congregation areas).
- Her function is one of production.
- She is normally the only reproductive female in the colony.
- Egg-laying begins when the first fresh pollen is brought home by the workers.
- The queen can lay as many as 2000 eggs each day.
- If a queen bee is removed from a colony, the workers will notice her absence within several hours because of the drop in the level of this pheromone.
- Workers evaluate their queen based on the quantity of the queen substance she produces. If workers begin to perceive a lower dose, they perceive her as low quality, and supersede her by replacing with another female!
How they produce honey
1. Female worker bees collect plant nectar from over than 5,000 flowers (food sources) in one day.
2. Nectar is taken to the bee hives, inside a special organ called the honey stomach.
3. Once inside the bee hives, house honeybees added enzymes to the nectar and chemical changes begin.
4. Honeybees place nectar and honey on comb and fan wings to remove excess moisture.
5. Once the enzyme action is complete and moisture level is low, ripe honey is stored in the cells of honeycomb. A wax cap on top keeps it clean.
What is going on with apis bees?
We have selected some articles and videos to help you better understand what happens with bees and their ecosystems, in order to find solutions together:
Why stinging bees are disappearing and why we need them so much
Apis bees are the most important pollinators of our fruits, vegetables, flowers, and feed crops for farm animals. Without them: no food, no human life, just that simple! Discover the truth in this Ted Talk video.
The economic role of stinging bees
As the number of bees declines, the price of over 130 fruits and vegetables crops that we reply on in the bar rises. This economic impact is convincingly explained here.
Why bees are disappearing
Due in part to temperature extremes and fluctuations, bee ecosystems are being devastated. Check it out! Chick here
“Beerosities” (bee + curiosities) that will surprise you
The History of Beekeepers: Behind Apiculture
Throughout history the story of humans and the Honeybee have been intertwined. Long sought after for their honey, honeybees have been depicted in ancient cultures and modern religions as a symbol of fertility, industriousness, and cooperation.
From prehistoric cave drawings depicting honey gatherers in southern Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe, to modern agriculture heavily relying on the Honeybee for their crop pollination services; the Honeybee has played a key role in the development of human traditions, agriculture, and society.
Read the full story here
The Waggle Dance: The Bee Dance
Honey bees communicate to nestmates locations of resources, including food, water, tree resin (propolis) and nest sites, by making waggle dances.
Dances are composed of repeated waggle runs, which encode the distance and direction vector from the hive or swarm to the resource.
Discover eveythins about this way of communication here: The Bee Dance
Meet a real bee whisperer
Ryan is a stinging bee whisperer. In this video he will show us how honey is harvested just outside Portland, Oregon. It’s amazing how they open the bee hives, extract the honey, filter it, and put it into the bottle. Join the complete story here!
How to identify authentic honey in 5 steps
1. Slight impurities are present. You will find small traces of pollen and wax.
2. Thick texture. It takes a while to drip from the spoon.
3. It takes longer to dilute in water.
4. It crystalizes. If it does not, it is processed.
5. To prove whether it is real honey or not: Add some drops of iodine to a glass of water with a bit of honey. If it turns blue, the honey is mixed with cornstarch.
Honey, I’m home! Professional honey tasting podcast
Arthur Garske has lived his life in and around bees. If there is something that needs to be learned about bees, Arthur knows it! Join him as he schools us about stinging bees as well as his second passion, honey. Pour yourself a cup of tea and enjoy this sweet listen here
The Nepalese honey that makes people… hallucinate?
In the foothills of the Himalayas a local community harvests honey from high cliffs. Discover one of the oldest methods of harvesting honey in the world and learn about a very rare phenomenon that occurs in spring: the honey gets rich with Rhododendron pollen which has psychedelic effects. Are you ready for this bizarre video?
“Beestainable” (bee + sustainable) projects
Bermondsey Street Bees
This sustainable beekeeping project supplies artisanal real honeys to chefs and bartenders who want to support British beekeeping. Who wants to learn more about this project? Maybe even schedule a class with a specialized sommelier? Take a look at the videos, documentaries, and articles here.
The London Honey Company
Are you looking for pure natural honey from London´s rooftops? Fall in love with single-origin honeys or infused honeys, as well as honey straight from the bee hive. You can also learn the craft of being a beekeeper and be part of this amazing online taster session. Join here!
The Ginza Honeybee Project
The Ginza Honeybee Project is greening the rooftops of this exclusive shopping district in Tokyo, raising bees, and commercializing their honey. This sustainable social business produces over one ton of honey per year.
Fairmont's Bee Sustainable Program: Honey Bee Distribution
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts saw the opportunity to help support honey bee health by placing beehives on rooftop gardens. Today, the program features over 20 honey bee apiaries and more than 20 wild pollinator bee hotels at Fairmont locations worldwide. Find more info here.
Cocktails: Oh Honey, Honey!
To prepare these cocktails, we invite you to use 100% pure local honeys that reflect the profile of their origin, and most importantly, that are produced sustainably.
- 60 ml / 2 parts Altos Plata
- 20 ml / 2/3 part fresh lemon juice
- 25 ml / 2/3 part Devon flower honey water (1:1)*
- lemon thyme for garnish
Shake and strain all ingredients into a rocks glass and garnish with lemon thyme.
*Runny local honey, a sprig of aromatic thyme.
30 ml = 1 oz
Altos Honey Highball
- 50 ml / 1 2/3 parts Altos Reposado
- 20 ml / 2/3 part lime juice
- 20 ml / 2/3 part honey*
- 40 ml / 1 1/3 parts orange juice
- club soda to top
- 1 orange twist
Add the first three ingredients to a highball glass. Stir to dissolve the honey. Add and integrate the orange juice. Add ice and top with club soda. Garnish with an orange twist.
Any local artisanal real honey will work.
30 ml = 1 oz