Honey is a precious commodity to me. I am selfish in choosing who will or won’t be the lucky recipient of the honey my bees make. If I know a person is honestly interested in the well-being of bees and truly enjoys a spoonful of the liquid golden elixir I am happy to sell or give a jar of honey to them. If I’m unsure of a persons interest in honey; for instance I feel that they will take it home shove it to the back of the cupboard, forget about it, then pull it out in a few months, notice it has crystalized, deem it “bad” and toss it out, they are not a likely candidate for the honey of my bees. That is the individual who should buy their honey at the local big box store.
I would like to encourage respect for bees and the delicious honey they produce by telling you what it takes in bee power to make a single pint of honey. The average worker bee lives about 6 weeks. When her life is about half over she ventures outside of the hive and joins the ranks of field bees. After orienting herself to what her hive looks like and making note of landmarks, so as to find her way back, she flies away from her home to forage for pollen, nectar, water and propolis.
A foraging bee will visit 5 million flowers to produce a single pint of honey. They prefer to forage within a two-to-three mile radius from their hive. That is equivalent to nearly 6000 acres. Crazy as this sounds, to make a pound of honey the bees collectively have to fly a distance of about twice around the world or 50,000 miles.
- As soon as the sun rises the bees begin their days work. Forager bees leave the hive, a dangerous task for a little bitty bee. Some of the hazards they face include moving cars, hungry birds, a frightened human, or unexpected inclement weather. After the bee reaches the desired foraging area she fills her honey stomach or pollen sacks and returns to the hive to pass off her bounty to a house bee and then makes the trip all over again. She will do this until dusk or the source runs out.
Think about what you’ve read for a moment. We all stand to learn something from bees and their work ethics. They perform their tasks daily strictly for the benefit of the hive – their family. The honey they make and store in the hive is not created for human pleasure yet we have the ability to “harvest” it and enjoy the bounty of the bee. Next time you taste a spoonful of honey I hope you’ll have a renewed respect for that succulent, finger-licking golden nectar we call honey. Roll it around on your tongue, let it slide down the back of your throat, lick your lips and please savor every drop!
Coming up Monday an amazing recipe for Honey – Soy Lacquered Ribs