Bzzz to Brr…?

Bzzz to Brr…?

Where do bees go during winter? Do they die out or go to warmer climates?  When summer ends and the busy nectar-collecting bees disappear, what happens to them?

Simply Bee Bees

While some species of bees go into hibernation or die off completely with only the queen re-emerging in Spring to establish a new generation, the honeybee stays active all through the cold season.

After working overtime to produce enough honey to last through the winter months, these bees have only one job!

To protect their Queen.

The Queen Bee

The Queen Bee is marked here for identification purposes.

They gather in the centre of the hive and huddle around the queen to keep her warm. As temperatures plummet, the bees flex the muscles used for flight. Although their little wings don’t move at all, the vibration caused by this constant fluttering creates heat.

To cleverly regulate the temperature in the hive, worker bees at the back of the huddle will fan out or move in closer against the queen. This is to ensure that the queen does not get too warm or too cold. On warmer days, the bees will venture out to get rid of body waste and clean the hive.

For the bees to fuel this winter-long shivering, a whopping 15KG of honey is consumed by some hives.

A Honey bee enjoying a snack

A honeybee enjoying a snack

What can we do to help preserve honeybees

What can we do to help preserve honeybees

The decline in the number of bees is not only a local problem but also a global problem. In South Africa Honey bees are essential for the pollination of at least 50 different commercially grown crops.

Bee population decline isn’t due to one single factor though. Mostly the health of bees is affected by modern agricultural methods, as these influence the life cycle of bees and loss of their habitat. Pesticides are another huge concern.

A honey bee harvesting nectar from the Honey suckle (Tecomaria Capensis). Family: BignoniaceaeCommon names: Cape honeysuckle, tecomaria (Eng.); Kaapse kanferfoelie, trompetters (Afr.); malangula (Swazi); umsilingi, icakatha (Xhosa); lungana, incwincwi, uchacha, udodo, ugcangca, imunyane (Zulu); molaka (Sotho)

We can help preserve our honey bees by doing the following:

  • Stop using pesticides where possible. Find out if organic alternatives can be used.
  • Help bees boost their own immunity. To make propolis, bees collect plant resins from  twigs, tree bark or leaf buds. This resin has various antifungal, antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which is essential for the health of a bee colony. So, rethink those sprawling lawns and instead plant trees and shrubs so that honey bees may have the sources of raw materials they need.
  • Use only honey from reputable suppliers. Brands which use sweeteners and corn syrup to thin out the honey supplied by them aren’t likely to be using sustainable methods to harvest honey from bee hives.
  • Consider humane insect-removal companies when you need to get rid of a swarm of bees on your property. Look for “no-kill” bee removal services which keep the hive intact.
  • Establish community gardens, with plants that are popular with honey bees.
  • Leave containers of water around your garden. Bees get thirsty too with all that pollination.
  • Plant as many indigenous plants and shrubs that you can, so bees have enough food. This handy article serves as a good guide on what plants bees love.

We can definitely do a lot to help our humble honey bee thrive and grow their populations.

 

WATCH: How Do Honeybees Get Their Jobs?

WATCH: How Do Honeybees Get Their Jobs?

When we think of a bee, we immediately think of buzzing bees hunting for nectar on a hot summer afternoon. We like to label a busy person as a little busy bee. But how do the bees determine who does what in the hive? Some are nurses, taking care of the brood, others are janitors who cleans the hive, then there are the foragers who leave the hive in search of nectar and collecting pollen.

As a collective honeybees are capable of an incredible level of sophistication, especially considering their brains are only the size of a sesame seed. They work as a well choreographed team. Watch this video to find out how their ‘jobs’ are allocated in the hive.

David

David

Fabulous – visit it often – always buy our honey products – great staff too!
Highly recommended!

Staying healthy during COVID-19

Staying healthy during COVID-19

Our immune systems are remarkable defence mechanisms. It’s constantly scanning our bodies to protect it against foreign cells and disease pathogens. It never sleeps and helps us cope with pandemics like the current COVID-19.
“..our immune systems will need to adapt unaided to COVID-19” says the World Economic Forum.

But how does it actually work? Our bodies create proteins called antibodies that destroys any abnormal cells it finds. This constant battle depends on how healthy we are, on a physical and on a mental level. Things like stress, poor sleeping habits and a diet lacking in essential nutrients can cause our defence systems to fail when our bodies need them the most.

The question if we can ‘boost’ our immune systems to help fight off viruses and disease has so far proved to be an elusive concept.

Irish consultant dietitian and nutritionist, Paula Mee, says: ‘The immune system is always on, even when we are sleeping. It’s stopping pathogens from invading our bodies – this makes it impossible to measure. The cosmetics industry tends to talk about ‘boosting’ it but, as nutritionists, we think ‘sustaining’ or ‘supporting’ is a more accurate way of putting it.”

The key concept here is BALANCE. ‘You don’t need a strong immune system but a balanced one.” says Rafael Māñez, head of the intensive care unit at Bellvitge Hospital, Barcelona.

So, the important things to keep in mind is to maintain a balanced lifestyle. Enough quality sleep, exercise routine to stay healthy and a balanced diet are crucial during these times.

Foods to eat to support our immune systems
Brightly coloured fresh fruits and vegetables for Vitamins C, seafood for Zinc & omega 3 & 6 oils, Yoghurts to maintain your gut bacteria, Vitamin D found in cheese, egg yolks, soya products, some dairy and sunshine!
Fresh Ginger, Lemons, spices like Turmeric, Cardamom, Cinnamon and Cloves combined with Honey is a favourite for us – taken daily it will support your immune system.
The basic idea is to ensure balance.

Maintaining Wellness
During uncertain times it’s even more of a challenge to stay mentally healthy. Worries about the future and how we will cope can add to a sense of unease. We recommend you keep a ‘health’ routine. Starting your day with self care, doing things that is relaxing to you is important to stay balanced and happy. Pandemics don’t last forever and will bring about a shift in how we go about life. So take the time to evaluate and adjust.
Do what makes your body feel good, do things that will give you a sense of accomplishment and pride. Celebrate this with healthy food as part of a balanced diet. Take that daily nap if your body asks for it and find new ways of communicating with your family & friends.

This new threat that is the Corona Virus will eventually pass too so it’s important to take care of ourselves, adhere to government & health regulations, stay in touch with our loved ones and take life one step at a time.