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Two types of reproduction

Honey bees actually have two types of reproduction. The first type is the kind we normally think of—the queen mates, lays eggs, and new bees are born. The second type is whole-colony reproduction. This occurs when the colony splits into two parts. One part—comprising perhaps 40 to 70 percent of the hive population—leaves with the […] Read more

Monoculture diets and honey bee health

As I mentioned in an earlier post, pollen is virtually the only source a colony has for protein, lipids, vitamins, and minerals. Colonies that pollinate large monocultures—such as almonds—have a severe lack of variability in their diets. Just as one fruit or vegetable doesn’t satisfy all your nutritional needs, one type of pollen is not […] Read more

Why honey bees collect propolis

Although we say honey bees collect propolis, what they actually collect are the materials to make propolis. The substances the bees bring home are sap-like resins exuded from flower and leaf buds. For the plants, these resins form a defensive coating, protecting delicate plant parts from pathogens, fungi, and insects. Foraging honey bees scrape it […] Read more

Pollen collection by honey bees

While we normally think of honey bees collecting nectar, an average-size colony may bring in 100 pounds of pollen in a season. Pollen is an essential part of the honey bee diet, providing a wide range of nutrients including protein, carbohydrates, lipids, vitamins, and minerals. Although a tough outer coating protects the pollen from environmental […] Read more

Water collection by honey bees

Water has several uses in a honey bee hive. During certain times of the year foragers find a source of water, fill their crops, and ferry it home. The number of bees foraging for water depends on the needs of the colony. If the in-hive workers accept the water quickly from the foragers, the foraging […] Read more

Nectar collection by honey bees

While folks envision industrious honey bees bringing home loads of silken nectar, they often don’t account for the other payloads that arrive on the landing board. Honey bees actually collect three other substances: pollen, water, and propolis. Today’s post is a brief overview of nectar collection. Later I’ll write about the other three. Nectar is […] Read more