July 14, 2014

Extracting Honey at my Farm

My blog team is on holiday.  Please enjoy this repeat.

I raise honeybees not only for the delicious honey they produce, but because these little, busy creatures assure me of a bountiful harvest by pollinating my fruits, vegetables, and flowers.  Honeybees are in search of nectar, the sweet fluid produced by flowers.  The worker bees drink the nectar and take it back to their hive. The nectar is passed along to the house bees, who mix it with special enzymes and place it into honeycomb cells.  The open cells are fanned by the bees’ wings to evaporate any water, and miraculously, honey is formed.  The cells are then capped with beeswax.

A worker bee visits hundreds of flowers each day in its quest for nectar.  Along the way, pollen sticks to the hairs on its body.  Bees have special basket-like groups of hairs on each of their hind legs and they move the pollen grains there. Pollen is the bees’ source of protein and is essential to feed the queen and the larvae in the hive.  Of course, some of the pollen drops from the bees as they fly from flower to flower, and plant pollination occurs.  Little honeybees diligently feed and care for their population, and in doing so, they are absolutely essential to our food supply.  Please enjoy this blog about our first honey extraction of this season at my farm.  Carlos, who works for me, has been taking a beekeeping class taught by D.J. Haverkamp of Bedford Bee,  and his skills have improved quite a bit.