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How do we compare to The Bee Movie?

BeekeeperHi!  My name is Lori, and I'm a Beekeeper.

OK, so maybe after The Bee Movie debuted, I kinda felt like I needed to go to a 10-step program.  Just kidding!

Beekeepers really are a friendly sort.  The gentleman I learned beekeeping from, Jerry, once told me an unmistakable truth: "You will always be considered strange.  You are knowingly working with animals that most people shy away from.  You will always be known as the strange folks down the street with the bees."  So, when I decided to turn my hobby into a business, I took him at his word, and picked the name "The Bee Folks".

Barry B. BensenJust to get you started on your foray into real-life beekeeping, I would like to bring up a few differences between the movie and real life.  If you decide you find this interesting, please support us by making a purchase!

Ray Liotta Special Select Honey
OK, when I saw this, I giggled.  To my knowledge, Ray Liotta does not have a brand of honey.  The only Liotta Honey that I am aware of was bottled specially for part of the press package advertising The Bee Movie.  Some of these press packages are currently on sale on eBay (just please don't bid against me - I want to get one!).  One such listing states that even though it says "product of Scotland" on the front, it specifically states on the back that it was made and bottled in the good ole US of A.

Use of Smoke
I have been keeping bees for more than a decade, and despite what the movie shows, I have never seen my bees fall down coughing and passing out when they are smoked.  However, beekeepers really don't know why it keeps the bees passive when it is used.  A common belief is that it makes the bees think that a fire is coming, so they get busy filling up on honey before they have to flee the flames.  I personally think it interferes with their detection of pheromones, so they just keep doing little bee things and ignore the beekeeper.  Whatever the reason, it does not have the long-term devastating effect that the movie alludes to.

Man-Made vs Natural Hives
Realistically, wild hives have pretty much died out over the last 2 decades.  First there was a disease called foulbrood, then mites, then hive beetles...  These are very real threats, with very real consequences.  These diseases and parasites are the reason why commercial pollination services are in such high demand now.  Man-made hives are designed to make it easy for the beekeeper to spot signs of sick and distressed bees early, and help them.

The other advantage of man-made hives is easy removal of honey.  Trust me, it is not as easy as the squeegee they showed in the movie.  (Ahhhh, I wish!)  however, the artificial hives does allow us to estimate how much honey is in the hive, and remove a portion of it without destroying the entire hive.

The Colony
Working BeekeeperWell, for starters, a colony (also known as a hive) consists of one fertile female bee (the queen), hundreds of boys (drones), and tens of thousands of sterile female bees (worker bees). Most wild colonies have died off over the last several decades due to a variety of mites and diseases.

These days, beekeepers and colonies co-exist. The beekeeper provides protection from parasites and disease, and in return collects the excess honey that the bees produce. When done properly, the bees are left with enough honey to survive the winter.

Queen BeeQueen Bee
A Queen Bee is created when the worker bees feed a new larvae a substance called Royal Jelly. Royal Jelly is a vitamin boost for bees, and will turn a young female larvae into a fertile Queen. The bees will create several Queens, but the first one that emerges as a full-grown bee will viciously attack the others and kill them before leaving on her mating flight.

The Queen mates only once in her lifetime, and will mate with several drones. This will provide enough sperm to last for several years. The only job of the Queen Bee is to lay eggs. In fact, she can lay up to 3,000 eggs a day! If she fails to lay eggs properly, or dies, the worker bees will start the process again, creating new Queens from the youngest larvae.

Drones
Black White DrawingDrones are the boys. The Queen Bee can choose to lay a male or female egg, based off the size of the cell the worker bees have prepared. Drones live for several months, and exist solely to eat, mate, and die. When mating season is over, the workers will push the drones out of the hive, so that they will not consume the winter stores and cause the hive to starve.

 

Worker Bees
Queen surrounded by worker beesWorker bees are the workhorse of the hive (so to speak). Except for reproduction, they fulfill all the functions required to ensure the continuance of the hive. Worker bees care for the larvae (baby bees), warm or cool the hive as necessary, collect and mature the honey, clean and feed the Queen Bee, produce beeswax for storage, general maintenance, and protection of the hive.

(Pic to right - Queen Bee surrounded by Worker Bees)


Want to Know More?

Please feel free to brows our FAQ, blog, and varietal honeys. If you have further questions, just email or call us toll-free at 877-4-BEEFOLKS - we will be happy to speak with you!
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