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About Honey Bees

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Honey Bees Are Social Insects

Honey bees are social insects with specific roles within a honey bee hive.  A bee colony includes worker bees, drones and a queen.

  • Worker bees, which are all female, are the only bees to collect nectar.  Worker bees cooperate to find food and use a pattern of "dancing" to communicate location of nectar to other worker bees.
  • Drones (male bees) remain with the hive to fertilize the queen.  After fertilizing the queen, the drone dies.  The life span of a drone is 21 to 90 days depending on the time of year, but drones do not live through winter.
  • Queen - the queen (only 1 per hive) can lay up to 1,500 eggs per day.

Importance of Honey Bees

Honey bees pollinate up to 80% of agricultural crops and gardens. Each honey bee transfers pollen from one plant to another as they search for nectar.  This fertilizes the plants and enables them to bear fruit. Blackberries, Blueberries, Onions, Broccoli, Chili Peppers, Watermelons, Coconuts, Cucumbers, Squash, Strawberries, Apples and dozens of other crops.

 Inside the Hive and the Bee Dance


Colony Collapse Disorder

Honey bees have been under significant stress for years.  Bee populations have been significantly reduced worldwide referred to as Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD. Scientists continue to study the causes, but it remains unknown if the cause is a disease or syndrome.  In the meantime, beekeepers and the honey industry have been forced to import bees from Australia at significant costs. 

Due to the critical roles that honey bees provide as pollinators, Colony Collapse Disorder has potentially devastating effects. Interestingly, the bees in the Florida panhandle that produce Tupelo Honey have so far escaped CCD --
USA Today reports, May 2007.

The Importance of Bees and CCD

More Honey Bee Facts
  • Bees beat their wings 11,400 times per minute, whereas Hummingbirds beat their wings 720 to 5,400 times per minute (depending on the species)
  • On average it takes 12 bees working their entire life to make one teaspoon of honey
  • Honey bees have to visit about two million flowers to make a single pound of honey
  • To produce 1 pound of honey, bees travel a distance equal to 2 times the distance around the earth
  • All worker bees are females, but they can’t lay eggs
  • From egg to emerging as an adult: Queen 17 days, Worker 21 days and Drone 24 days
  • A healthy colony of bees contains between 40,000 and 60,000 bees

In the following video the life cycle of a honey bee is presented as an example of complete metamorphosis, the development of an insect from egg to larva, then pupa, then adult.

Life Cycle of Honey Bees

The State of Florida produces about 30 to 40 million pounds of honey a year. At, we offer all of the popular Florida honeys including: Tupelo, Orange Blossom, Gallberry and Wildflower.

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