- +How many round trips does a bee need to collect 1 kg of honey?
To collect 1 kg of honey a bee needs to visit 10 millions flowers!!! It must fly for approximately 150.000 km, which is 4-times the Earth’s perimeter. In just one day all the bees living in the same beehive can visit up to 225.000 flowers.
- +How many bees are there in a bee family?
During the collection period a strong family can count up to 100.000 bees, even if average bee families count approximately 70.000 individuals (mostly females).
- +What is propolis and what is its function?
Propolis is a mix of resins that bees collect from plant buds and refine with their glandular secretions. Bees normally use it to keep the beehive free from pathogens. This antiseptic action is especially effective against fungi, bacteria and viruses which would otherwise proliferate inside the beehive, due to its constant temperature of 36° and its high humidity level of 70%. Bees also resort to propolis to “embalm” unwelcome guests inside the beehive (such as little beetles, for example) which would be too difficult for them to drag outside. Propoli is also used as a “construction material” to fix the mobile elements inside the beehive or to seal any possible splits that may form in their house.
Many are the properties acknowledged to propolis. Antibacterial action (mostly for laryngitis, pharyngitis, bronchitis, flu, cold), anti-inflammatory action, local anesthetic and cicatrizing agent (on bruises, thrushes, eczemas and acne), germicide and adjuvant against skin fungi. Not all propolis components have been deeply studied yet, and there are many researches now interested also in propolis volatile particles. One of these studies showed that vaporizing propolis in an Italian nursery school decreased significantly children’s absence caused by sickness.
- +What is pollen?
Pollen is composed of the male germ cells of plants. It looks like a fine powder going from light yellow to light brown. Worker bees, going from a flower to flower, collect this powder and mix it with saliva, then with the help of their legs, they form little balls which they temporarily store in special “baskets” placed in their legs and fly back to the beehive to put it away.
- +What is royal jelly?
Royal jelly is the only nourishment given to the bees’ larvae from birth to their third day of life; it is also the only nourishment of the larvae destined to become queen bees for their first five days of life; then of course it is the only food a queen bee can eat during her entire life. It is only thanks to this special food that the queen bee, born from the same type of egg as any other worker bee, can double its size and weight in less than two days. If her larva increases 2000 times its weight in only five days, and if she lives for at least five years against the average worker bee’s life which is 45 days, it is once again thanks to the fact that she is fed only with royal jelly. She can lay up to 2000 eggs per day for a few years.
- +What is Melata honey?
There are two different types of honey. The first one is nectar honey (the most commonly known) which bees collect form the nectar of different flowers (acacia, walnut, lime…) which give it their specific characteristics. The second type is called plant honey (or melata honey) because it comes from a special kind of resin (melata) lying on the leaves and in the bark of some kind of plants, collected by the bees to make honey. This resin is released from some parasitic insects that eat the azotic substances contained in the plant sap and leave on the plant the sugary part of this substance, of which bees are greedy. Melata honey is much richer in mineral salts than any nectar honey.
- +How can you select the different types of honey?
It all depends on the territory where the bees fly to collect nectar. The beekeeper must be very attentive and careful on where he places his beehives and must pays great attention to the blossoming of that area.
- +Why does honey crystallize, and what’s the difference between liquid honey and the hard honey?
Crystallization is a totally natural process for honey and it depends on many factors, heare are the most important ones: temperature, water percentage and level of glucose. Honey naturally contains variable portions of glucose and fructose. At 15° glucose particles arrange to form a thick net of crystals which then lead to crystallization. The water percentage contained in honey (in good quality products it sets around 18%) significantly affects this process: if the percentage is low, honey will crystalize more quickly and will become more solid, while if the percentage is high it will go through the opposite process. Some kind of honeys (acacia, walnut etc.) typically have a slower crystallization (which always takes place at a certain point) since they contain a low level of glucose and a high amount of fructose, which does not go through this “inconvenience”. From the nutritional point of view, all honeys are equal, they provide approximately the same calories and the presence of glucose rather than fructose does not affect the quality, the pureness or the genuineness of honey.
- +How long does a queen bee live?
There is a very remarkable difference between the lifetime of a queen bee and that of a worker bee. If the life time of a worker bee can go from a few weeks (during the summer, season of hard work) to a maximum of 6 moths (during the winter), the queen bee can generally live up to 4/5 years.
- +How many eggs does a queen bee lay daily every day?
Queen bees can lay as many as 2000 eggs per day. To be able to so, she must eat every day a quantity of royal jelly which is equal to 80 times her weight.
- +What is the role of male bees?
The main function of male bees (drones) is to be ready to fertilize a receptive queen. They have a very efficient reproducing apparatus, and have an enhanced sense of smell, able to detect a queen bee during her mating flight, even 8 km away.