For My Friends: A little bit about bees

Many people often ask why or how I got into beekeeping. The most honest answer I can tell you is because I love tiny things. Tiny cups are great for drinking juice in. Likewise tiny espresso spoons are good for large soups and not for savoring flavor but rather because its funny. I always say, why have it big when you can have it small… Landscapes are great and all but true beauty in the world is seen from the tiny details that comprise the big picture. The forest landscape is beautiful, it smells great and one often feels calmed by the overall energy. Try zooming in the next time you’re in a forest. You might find that there is more adventure to witness…. To further explain my affections with bees I must say I am attracted to the order of Hymenoptera… Do you hear crickets when I say that? Hymentoptera Is the order of Ants, bees, wasps and termites and they’re awesome because they are known as superorganisms; an organism comprised of many, tiny organisms. It’s not the individual bee that is badass, it is the mechanics, the labor and actions of the colony in all it’s entirety.When I see a single bee on a flower I know it comes from a huge family of about 40,000. I’ll know that that same bee is between 22 and 45 days old because from birth to death, bees perform altruistic tasks based on their age. 1-2 days is spent performing domestic duties like housekeeping; cleaning and tending to the baby brood. 3-11 days they continue to feed the growing larvae....

Sticky Snack

“SWEET honey drizzled on thick sliced sourdough Spread with em>chunky roasted garlic hummus and creamy goats cheese Completed with a tangy balsamic and truffle oil dip. Wow” The Millarville apiary has 12 hives and it is the most enjoyable location to visit. I enter a field bustling in blossom melange. Curious cattle and cautious dogs greet me at the gate which link onto a slightly crooked but well built fence. The foothills are so well manured. July makes me think of thoughtfully paired picnics, iced beverages and antihistamines. Full bloom purple and white clover flood the floor, the cows help themselves to the feast. My only thought at this point is, you’d better damn well save some for the bees! Being in my bee suite resurrects a memory I once had in a sauna. This is at least draftier than that! I visit each pallet with four hives each at a time. From Smokey and V to Coleen and even temperamental Piper, I get to catch up on all the gossip. Smoker lit, hive tool in hand, lid off, inner cover cracked. What story will you tell me today my well traveled Apis Mellifera? Bee behavior and overall temperament is gentle this early in the season. No veils necessary out of the hot zone and I am ready to have a snack with mom. At break, I stroll a few paces over to my truck called, “Lil’ Tako”. Mom has already prepared an extravagant picnic for us on the tailgate. Pulled from a wicker basket and arranged in a very edible way, she displays this lavish temptation. Honey drizzled...

Flower Sex and Allergies

“When a bee visits an apple tree flower she picks up pollen grains from the anther and pokes her head into the flower to get a nectar reward. As she moves onto another apple bloom, her body may brush up against the stigma of the second flower, where again seeks a pollen reward. The pollen grains adhere to the bees body by means of static electricity and her plumose body (covered with fine branched hairs). The grains of pollen sticking to the hairs are thus rubbed onto the moist tip of the stigma, after which incredible things happen.” Beautiful. If that ain’t sex, I don’t know what is. Isn’t this fun? In the game of reproduction, clearly we’re talking about pollen grains matching that of male sperm. Pollen grains from the stamen (male part) stroke the air and into the heart shaped pistol (female part) of the flower. If successfully connected, germination begins and soon the presence of new, blooming life is born. Enough said. Aside from plant pollination, why do bees eat pollen and store it in their hive for future consumption? In order for honey bees to develop into tenacious critters (the Jillian Michaels of the insect world), pollen must remain vital to maintain a healthy diet. Honey bees are not carnivorous like those mean ol’ wasps. A strict carb and protein diet is plenty for our little honey bees. They love nothing more than breakfast of honey and dinner of pollen. Mmmmm, sounds delightful. During metamorphosis, all bees under four days old and all queen bees are fed “royal jelly” to help aid in proper development....