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13 Things You May Not Know About Our Honey Bees

Updated: Aug 15, 2019

1. We support a total of 8 hives on our property here at Island Grove Wine Company Formosa Gardens. The bees are free to fly around collecting pollen from our gardens and many others within a 6 mile radius from their hive on our grounds. That's not a rule we talked over with them, that's just the farthest bees will fly from their home.

2. The langstroth box hives we use most closely mimic a bee's natural habitat. Basically they're staying in a 5 star hotel with us; especially since all the fruitful flowers of our vineyard and gardens flourish right in their backyard.

3. The word "brood" is used to describe the bee's young in all forms from eggs to larvae to pupae. A brood of bees has such a nice ring to it doesn't it? Sounds much better than a swarm of bees to me.

4. Once bees are fully developed they are put straight to work. Their first job is to become a "nurse bee" meaning they look after the brood. As Bill our bee keeper put it; the babies are the babysitters.

5. Honey bees communicate with one another by dancing. Come in to the winery and see how by taking a look at our observation hive.

6. Male honey bees (also called drones), are noticeably larger than the females, have no stinger and do no work; all they do is mate. Not a bad life for a bee. I think we all know at least one human living a similar life style, am I right?

7. The honey bee is the only insect that produces food eaten by man. Worms might make nice silk but you certainly can't eat it. Imagine if we could eat other insect byproducts, would there be such a thing as spider web cotton candy? Hmmmm ...

8. Bees eat something called "Bee Bread" which is a mixture of both pollen and honey. Yum! This makes me think of bread pudding which is delicious, but unlike bread pudding this must not be too tasty for most humans otherwise a bee bread diet would be all the rage right now.

9. Honey lasts an incredibly long time. An explorer once found a 2000 year old jar of honey in an Egyptian tomb that was just as edible and delicious as the day it was harvested. Whoever stuck a spoon in that jar was a brave, brave soul in my opinion.

10. Our honey is not just made on-site but bottled and packaged in house too. It is important to us to over see all steps in the honey making, harvesting, and packaging process to maintain quality control. We want to make sure our honey is the best it can, well, BEE!

11. Island Grove Winery is the proud home of at least 275,000 bees amongst our 8 hives. We take extra care to make sure our bees are comfortable, happy, and well provided for. After all we certainly wouldn't want that many bees headed over to HR. Yikes!

12. A single queen bee can live up to 6 years. Unfortunately there is no chance for reelection. Bee politics and life spans don't work that way, however a bad queen can be overthrown by her subjects. Yay for revolution!

13. If the queen bee dies, workers will create a new queen by feeding “royal jelly" to a single larva. This helps turn the larva into a fertile queen. Can you imagine if all it took was some good baby formula to turn you into royalty? Goals.

If you want to find out more information we invite you to come by the winery to talk to our bee keeper and expert Bill Leonard.

We'll bee seeing you!


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