Our bees

Whilst collecting nectar and pollen bees pollinate flowers. Pollen is collected to feed the baby bees. Nectar a thin sweet liquid collected and converted into honey (the bees reduce the water content of nectar by fanning air over the combs). Honey is used by bees as food - they store extra for winter. They often make way too much honey, which is why we can harvest it, and you can eat it on your toast.

The healthier and stronger a bee colony the more honey they make. This is because the more forage the bees have access too means they store more honey - this stimulates the queen into laying even more eggs which means more bees and in turn more honey. The naturally short life (about 6 weeks) of a bee means that come winter, the colony naturally shrinks to a smaller size where they cluster and slow down through the winter months. As they do so little work (they don’t fly in the winter) the bees live around five months - until the next year. During this time they huddle together and keep a temperature around 35°C, and eat a relatively small amount of honey.

In a hive there are bees lots of them - around 50,000. There is one Queen, thousands of female worker bees, and a few hundred male drones. The Queen is the only egg-laying bee in the entire colony and all other bees look after her. Then there are the male drones that don’t sting and mate with any new queens. All the rest of the bees are the worker bees which are the other 95%, they make honey by collecting nectar and pollen, they also clean the hive and look after the Queen.

Their hive

In a bee hive there are lots of things. The main thing (other that bees) is honeycomb. When they find a new place to live (a hive) they begin to build a structure of wax comb, this is used for everything in the hive. They create small tubes that they fill with various things...

The Queen lays eggs in the cells, which after three weeks hatch into bees.
The worker bees store nectar in the cells - after some time this will turn to honey.
Worker bees collect pollen, this will be fed to the young larvae and bees and this is stored next to the growing larvae.

The honey area (called a super) on top and nest area (called brood box) at the bottom are separated so the super of a hive is filled with honey (and often some pollen).

The thoughts in our minds

More bees is a good thing, we leave them to it and never take too much of the things they make.

A world full of bees would be a fantastic place, they work hard, have order and a fantastic social hierarchy. Every bee has a purpose and gets cracking with its daily jobs. There are nurse bees that tend the young, worker bees that collect pollen and even bees that just go around tidying the hive. Then there is one Queen that can lay 2000 eggs in a day (more than her own body weight).

A strong hive

More eggs means more bees which in turn means a strong hive which collects a surplus of honey and draws out plenty of wax comb to store it in. Bees collect nectar - which ultimately ends up as honey and pollen, which is food for the little ones.

Working with the BBC

As part of our mission of bringing great, natural and delightful bee products to you, we are also passionate about educating people and children about bees. To that end we recently took our people and our tiny bees, to the BBC's Octoberfest and as part of CBeebies we used our observation hive to show, to teach and to inspire.

Did we mention we love bees?