Tue 28 Apr 2009
By Linda Brody
• The honey we eat is nectar that bees have repeatedly regurgitated and dehydrated. It is a pure product that needs no refrigeration or further processing.
• In one trip, a honeybee, wings beating at 11,000 cycles per minute, will fly at a speed of 15 mph to visit between 50 and 100 flower blossoms.
• Bees visit 2 million blossoms to gather four pounds of nectar to produce one pound of honey.
• To visit 2 million blossoms, bees must fly 55,000 miles, which is equivalent to flying around the world twice.
• The average hive has from 50,000 to 75,000 honeybees. Each one lives for only six weeks and makes only one-twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime.
• It takes eight pounds of honey, the result of 16 million visits to blossoms, for a bee to produce one pound of beeswax.
• Each year bees pollinate ninety-five crops worth an estimated $10 billion in the United States alone.
Reprinted from an article in New Canaan-Darien Magazine, by Leslie Chess Feller, May 2007
One Sunday morning in late August, our local apiarist Jim Henry, invited me over to take a look at his hives; the “girls” were still busy, busy, busy. He had already done the major harvesting of this year’s honey crop the week before, but there were still a few minor chores to attend to. He showed me his bee-keeping set-up in the basement of their home (where many fascinating historical artifacts of previous Mead family owners are kept), where he extracts the honey from the honeycombs and scrapes the beeswax from the frames, as preparation for the next year’s harvest. The Henry flower and vegetable gardens as well as a vineyard are all visible from Mead Street; all have a symbiosis with the local hive members, each relying on the other for its very existence. Susan and Jim engaged in some friendly banter about the pros and cons of vegetable vs. flower gardens while I took some pictures as proof that both were thriving. Thus far, Jim has not had too much of a problem with CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder); his annual yield is about 75 bottles (guess what everyone in the family gets at Christmas-time….). Bees range out about 3 miles from the hive, looking for nectar and cross-pollinating in the process. It’s a continuing challenge to keep a hive healthy and happy, in light of the use of pesticides, parasitic mites and bacteria, environmental pollutants, reduction of open field space, and other stress-inducing factors. Hmmmm, not dissimilar to us humans…..Next time you see a small busy bee, make her welcome.