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The Most Interesting Insect in the World – Honey Bee Facts

Facts About Honeybees

You may think you know a lot about honeybees, but there is always more to learn about this fascinating creature. Did you know that honeybees are the only insect that produces food consumed by humans? Or that honey is the one food that never goes bad?  Did you know that honeybees are responsible for one-third of our crops, thanks to their pollinating skills? Truly, honeybees are fascinating creatures.

Did you know? Honeybee Roles

There are three types of bees in every hive: a queen, worker bees, and drones. The queen bee and worker bees are all females. Drones are males. Worker bees collect pollen and nectar to make honey. The worker bee collects nectar in a special structure inside her body called a “honey stomach.” They feed the colony, clean the hive and take care of the offspring. Another role for some lucky worker bees is that of the undertaker. They must remove dead bees from the hive a dispose of them. A drone’s job is to simply mate with the queen. A queen mates with multiple drones and lays eggs. Lots and lots of eggs. A prolific queen bee can lay 2,500 eggs a day. Until she runs out, can no longer lay eggs and is no longer queen bee.

Did you know? Queen Bee 

The queen bee takes off on a mating flight. She leaves the hive and goes to mate with as many drones as possible. She only mates this one time in her life but with numerous drones. She stores the sperm in her spermatheca. Then she holds the sperm for her lifetime and uses it until it’s gone. Queen bees usually perform their job for about two years. As they age, they lay fewer eggs and their pheromone production lower as they age too. In their prime, they lay 1,000 to 2,000 eggs. Usually, the hive will replace a queen bee once she isn’t producing enough eggs.

Did you know? Honeybee Anatomy

Honeybees have four wings, six legs, and five eyes. The three large eyes have multiple facets and these eyes can detect movement, color and patterns. The smaller eyes can detect light and help then navigate flight. They fly up to 15 to 20 miles per hour. Honeybees use their antennae to smell. The sound of their buzz is made by their wings flapping- they flap up to 200 strokes per second. Honeybees don’t usually sting, and only the female bee stings. If a bee does sting you, they die soon after as their stinger is attached to their abdomen and it gets pulled out.

Honeybees produce wax from a gland on their abdomen. They make honeycombs from the wax that provide a place to raise the young and also store food. They are efficient builders.

Did you know? Honeybee Hive Activity

Hives can produce five different substances, honey, of course, beeswax, propolis, pollen, and royal jelly. A lot is going on in there. A colony can have up to 60,000 bees and only one queen. A hive is a busy place. Outside the house, bees collect pollen, water and of course nectar to make honey. Security guard bees guard the hive against unwanted guests. Safe and sound inside, some bees care for the young, some make honey, build honeycomb and perform other domestic activities. It is a well-run house!

In winter, bees stay inside the hive and consume the honey they made in the summer. In the busy bee time, a summer a worker bee lives about six to eight weeks total. Believe it or not, their most common type of death is from wearing out their wings from flying, because they work themselves to death.

Did you know? Honey Never Spoils

Honey never spoils; in fact, a bottle of honey was unearthed in King Tutt’s tomb, and it was fine. Honey is the only substance that has all the elements necessary to sustain life, including water. It is composed of 80% sugars and 20 % water.

We think bees are truly fascinating.  If you have a question about a beehive or beehive removal please call us at 972-316-9135. We give free estimates and service Dallas Fort Worth and surrounding areas.

Wasp Nest vs Drone – Don’t Try This At Home

You are never too old for toys! A drone is a toy the whole family can enjoy. Kids, moms, and dads can get in on the fun. This enterprising (and brave) person used the toy to get rid of his pesky neighbors, a nest of wasps. But don’t try this at home folks- it’s a bad idea. Best to call a Professional Bee and Wasp removal company,  like Little Giant Beekeepers!

 

TOP 5 Reasons why you should not try to remove wasps from your home without a professional:

  1. Wasps nest vary in size, but by the fall, a nest can hold around 600 stinging wasps. As you might have guessed, they do not want to be disturbed!
  2. Wasps get angry and protect their homes. Unlike bees, they can repeatedly sting; they do not die after they sting. Angry wasps= many stings!
  3. If you swat and smash a wasp, it could release a pheromone that lets other wasps know you are now a target. Now you have an excited group of wasps who could attack you.
  4. You could be allergic. Many people are allergic to wasp and bee stings. You might not know it because you haven’t been put in the situation before. If you are allergic, you could go into anaphylactic shock. Many people end up in the hospital thanks to multiple wasps’ stings.
  5. Little Giant Beekeepers are experts in safe wasp removal. We have safety procedures so you will not get stung!

How to Identify a Wasp

Unlike bees, wasps have a skinny waist. They have six long legs too. They have longer antennae. Different types have different colorings to differentiate them from one another. Most are brown and yellow, but some might have even bright coloring, like red or even blue. Like bees, wasps can be beautiful architects. Wasps nest are truly something to behold, with hundreds of perfectly created delicate pentagons.

Yellow Jacket

Yellow jackets are very aggressive. They build a large nest out of cellulose that can hold thousands of wasps. Most of their nest are in attics or eaves, large cavernous spaces. Unfortunately, they sting multiple times if bothered and with large nests can be a danger. They like sweets and proteins and be a significant nuisance at a picnic.

Paper Wasp

Paper wasps make a nest out of wood pulp and make it into a paper mâché like material. They have small colonies that hang from a branch, porch ceiling or window. They are not a very aggressive wasps but will sting if their nest is disturbed.

Mud Daubers

Mud Daubers construct their nest from mud. They are the lone wolf of wasps, living by themselves under eave porch ceilings and more. Though they look like scary wasps, they are fairly docile. They can benefit your yard by eating other insects and bugs.

How to Avoid Wasps

The good news is, with a little prevention, wasps can be avoided. You want to first start by taking care of your house. Walk around outside and look for cracks and crevices. Seal them with a silicone sealant, so wasps won’t want to enter the premises and build there.

Wasps can be a nuisance when dining outside. If you eat outside keep food covered. Use cups, you can see in to, because wasps can sneak into soda cans and can sting your mouth when you drink. Close the garbage bag and put it in a trash can. Clean up spills and leftovers outside, so wasps don’t come to eat your leftovers. They like sweet stuff and also protein. Don’t forget to wear shoes in the grass, getting stung by a wasp can hurt. And remember they can sting multiple times- ouch!

Little Giant Beekeepers and Bee Removal Specialists are well-versed in the removal of all flying insects. Fall is a time of substantial activity for wasps but please don’t think of using the drone for wasps removal! Call us instead at 972-980-0923 for a free wasps removal estimate across Dallas Fort Worth and surrounding areas.

Tips for Honey Extraction

Have you noticed that beekeeping is gaining popularity as a hobby? You don’t have to live in the country or have a lot of land to raise bees, even in cities like Dallas and Fort Worth apiaries are popping up. Sure, it’s not the most accessible hobby to get started but it does bring in some excellent benefits. Beekeeping in Dallas, Fort Worth area is especially great because raw, local honey is known to help with allergies. Anyone who lives in the Dallas Fort Worth areas knows allergies are a problem, especially this time of year. Not only is local honey good for it also taste great. It tastes so much better than the store-bought stuff. And it even better knowing the bees you have been babying created it!

Besides the honey, there are other benefits to raising your own bees. Bees wax is actually quite useful around the house. You could make candles, lotion, polish furniture, and much more! You can get quite crafty with it.

End of summer is an excellent time for extraction because it is so warm, and the honey will flow better. Our first tip for honey extraction is patience. It takes time, and you need to be patient. It is not a quick job, and going too fast can get messy. Another tip is to make sure you have all the right gear before you get started. For clothing, jacket, gloves, hat, and veil is a good idea, especially if you are just getting started and do not know the personify of your bees. Better safe than sorry. Also, you will want to have all the possible tools you will need ready to go.

It is a good idea to try to do the extraction somewhere else besides your kitchen. It is a very sticky process! Nobs, floors, and table will be sticky. It best to try it somewhere more open with fewer things around. A garage might be a functional space or an outdoor shed. One unique issue is that bees will smell you working on an extraction. If you straight up just do it outside and it takes a while more bees are going to show up.

Another tip is an addition to all your other tools have a large bucket or bowl of water and some dish towels to wash off your hands when they do get sticky from the extraction. Again, it can be a messy job and best to keep water nearby for easy use.

One way to save some money on the somewhat expensive hobby is to share or borrow extractor’s, uncapping tanks and other extracting equipment. Since most hobbyists only use it once or twice a year it’s a good tool to share. In addition, you could also help each other since extracting honey is a two-person job.

Warm honey flows better than cool honey. It spins out of the comb faster and more thoroughly than cold honey in an extractor. It also strains more quickly through a filter.  Honey at 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 c) or higher will be extracted most easily.  Not a problem in Texas!

Bees are usually docile when beekeepers are extracting honey, but they will sting if you accidentally smash one.  Did you know that although its sweet, honey is highly acidic? So, you want to pick the right container to keep the extracted honey it.  Do not use aluminum and galvanized steel because that will react with the honey acids.  Stick with plastic, stainless steel or glass. Tupperware and Rubbermaid both make good plastic containers to hold honey and cappings.  Uncovered honey also catches insects, so keep the honey covered.

Enjoy your harvest and if you have a hive you didn’t ask for please contact Little Giant Beekeepers and we can help you with hive removal. Call 972-316-9135 for a free consultation.

Bee Safety Tips for Summer 

Bees are most active between spring and fall. Summer is prime time for bees’ favorite activities – including colonizing and establishing new hives. Contrary to some peoples’ beliefs, bees’ favorite activities do not include terrorizing humans. In truth, most bees are not harmful unless you disturb them. It is still important to know some basic bee safety tips.

For example, if you happen upon a swarm of bees, they are simply on the lookout for a new place to colonize and won’t want to bother you, or be bothered themselves!  Most of the time, if you wait it out, they will move on.

What do I do if I find a hive of bees in my yard?

Unexpectedly finding a hive of bees, on the other hand, can be dangerous. If the hive is uncovered when performing yard work with loud machines, say yielding a leaf blower, or on a ride-on mower, the sound and activity could upset the hive. If you find a hive on your property or in an area that many people come upon, it is best to perform a live honey bee removal, so the bees don’t get agitated from activity in the area. Honey bee hive removal is a job best left to the professionals who have the right safety protective gear and knowledge. The last thing you want to do it upset a hive of bees by spraying them madly and running. Not only will you anger the colony, but it also won’t kill the hive because most likely the queen will not be disturbed.

How do I know if the bees are Africanized honey bees?

There is also a chance that you might have come across africanized honey bees. How do you know if they are africanized honey bees (aka Killer bees)? You won’t be able to tell just by looking, there are some slight differences, but in the heat of the moment, you don’t want to stick around to determine. You must observe their personality. Africanized honey bees are more aggressive in general. They attack in more significant numbers and stay angry and aggressive for up to an hour. Africanized honey bees venom is stronger, and they can make a nest in just about anything and anywhere.

How do you stay safe around bees in the summer?

  • If you came across a hive of bees unexpectedly. Do not make a scene, move away quietly and slowly until the bees are no longer in sight.
  • If you have accidentally already disturbed the bees, run as fast as you can in a straight line and find shelter. The furthest even Africanized bees will chase you is a quarter of a mile.
  • If for some reason you can’t run, cover your face and eyes from the bees with your arms or shirt. Try to remain calm and do not flail and swat and scream. This just makes the bees madder!
  • Do not attempt to jump in the water to avoid the bees. They will be waiting for you to get a breath of air!

What do you do if you are stung by bees?

When a bee stings, it leaves it stinger. You want to remove the stinger as fast as possible. Scape it out and wash the area with soap and water. Later you can apply a cold compress to the area. If you have trouble breathing, become dizzy or even nauseous, you might be having an allergic reaction to the sting. Call 911 as soon as possible. The good news is that most of the population is not allergic to bees. On average, only a very small percent of the population is allergic to bees. But for those who are, it can be deadly. If you are out and about this summer in nature where bees might be, avoid heavy scents like found in florid soaps and body lotions. Don’t wear bright colors or florals that might look like lunch for a bee. Try not to leave sweet stuff uncovered at a picnic or leave sticky garbage out without a lid.

Bees do not want to harm you. But they also do not like being disturbed. If you do find a hive, contact Little Giant Beekeepers and we can help you decide the next steps free of charge. Call 972-316-9135 for a free consultation.

 

IMAGE CREDIT: Photo by Juan Salamanca from Pexels

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