The Secret Life of Bees

Bob Miltenberger told club members about his new hobby:  keeping honeybees.

He and his wife, Michelle, have four hives near Herbert Akins Rd. Elementary School.  The bees originally arrived in five-pound boxes, each holding about 10,000 bees.  The queen arrived in her own box, about the size of a matchbox.  Each hive typically houses 60,000 to 80,000 bees.  The queen can lay up to 2,000 eggs per day, and the worker bees gather nectar, clean the hive, and take care of the baby bees.

Bob said he has been stung many times but doesn' t seem to mind.  Bee stings are fatal for bees, however.  Once a bee uses its stinger, it dies.

Bees use their stingers to defend the hive against invading bees looking to steal honey.  Worker bees remove the bees' dead bodies after a battle.  They fly out a few yards from the hive carrying the bodies, and drop them to the ground.

Bob told us that one-third of all the crops in the U.S. rely on bee pollination.  There are 2.7 million bee colonies in the country, and beekeepers move them from farm to farm during pollination season.

Bob gave out samples of honey from his bees, and it was delicious!

Bob's wife says he should sell more honey and give less of it away, but Bob says the real cost of his honey, after factoring in all his expenses, would be about $65 for a one-pound jar.  (He does sell a few bottles at $10 per jar.)

© Rotary club of fuquay-varina 2019