About Bees
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Anyone who has admired the extremely

intricate forms of construction and engineering feats involved with the building of dams by beavers and the webs that are woven by spiders realize that certain members of the natural world have incredible abilities to build homes and purposeful devices.  Like the beavers and the spiders, bees possess unique talents.  They are truly amazing in their proficiency in building and maintaining hives, pollinating plants, establishing colonies, and making honey.

A good strong colony of bees consists of 60,000-100,000 bees.  Honeybees collect nectar and store it as honey. It is the nectar and honey that enable bees to have the energy to flap their muscles to provide heat for the hive in the winter. They build up wax honeycomb to raise their brood and to store honey. 

Stan Brown has had a love affair with bees for

over eighty years.  He admires their industriousness.  Bees do not sleep in the way that we view sleep. They have some inactive periods where they rest.  They basically work constantly either in the field or in the hive.  Karen spoke about how they collect nectar or water or pollen during the day.  Stan discussed how they either build or repair combs at night or move the nectar.

In a colony there is one queen who is the single egg layer, many drones (males) depending on the season of the year, and many female “worker bees.”  There are bees that guard the hive and bees that find food, take caring of the young, collect pollen and nectar, clean the hives, rebuild the hives, and forage.

Bees are very adaptable to their environment.  In certain parts of California bees might be feeding on almond bloom, the biggest migratory bloom in the world.  In Maine bees move from one

flowering crop to another such as pussy willows, dandelions, wild cherries, pin cherries, and honeysuckle, etc. Blueberry production in Maine

would not happen without the pollination of bees.

Karen explained that once a queen bee matures and gets bred that she turns into an “egg laying machine.”  A queen bee can lay up to 1200 eggs a day! Because bees are hoarders they produce more honey than they need.  Luckily beekeepers like Stan and Karen are around to harvest the excess honey and share it with those who enjoy consuming it and those who purchase it for medicinal reasons.

Stan Brown commented that the world would be a better place if “we were only one-half as smart as bees.”

This photo of a bee on a buckwheat blossom was kindly provided by Karen Thurlow-Kimball.

This photo of a frame of brood that was being held by Stan Brown was taken by Karen Thurlow-Kimball.