Italian honey bees are very calm and gentle, and they are excellent honey producers. They make nice white honey combs and produce good amounts of delicious pure honey, especially during the honey flow (in late Spring and early Summer when the most flowers and fruit tress are in bloom). The honey bees in our hive originated from California, where they were raised in almond groves.
Honey bees are amazing creatures with complex social structures. Bees communicate with one another by “dancing” so as to give the direction and distance of flowers. They are not born knowing how to collect honey, but they are taught by the older bees. The average honey worker bee will only make 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime, so they are constantly replenishing the hive with fresh brood. We started out with 10,000 – 12,000 bees and a fully mature hive can have as many as 60,000 busy honey bees living in it. All of the new bees have the same mother…the queen bee, who can lay her weight in eggs in one day, or 200,000 eggs in a year. Almost all of the bees in the hive are females, except a few males (called “drones”). Male bees do no work at all, don’t have stingers and their only purpose is to mate. The queen only mates once in her lifetime.
Honey bees are beautiful to watch and enjoyable to work with. As if that wasn’t enough reason to keep them on the farm, they also make honey for us! To make one pound of honey, the busy bees would have to fly 55,000 miles and tape two million flowers!
Honey is the only food in the world that won’t spoil and it contains impressive antibacterial properties. Honey has been used for millennia for healing wounds, burns, allergies, toothaches, colds, and it’s even being researched for possible use in treating heart disease and cancer.