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The Country Enterprise Handbook
Analysing your assets|Land use|Vegetables|Soft fruit|Flower & herb growing|Orchard & vineyard|Woodlands Sheep|Beef|Pigs|Rabbits|Hens|Ducks|Geese|Dairying|Kitchen|Bees|Wool|Water|Home|Contact us

..Siting a hive
...As partners
...Bee hives
...Hive construction
...Smoker,hive tool,feeder
...Capture a swarm
...Buy a colony or nucleus
...Queens & drones
>..The workers
...Ah! Honey
...Propolis,royal jelly,wax

Workers are unbelievably industrious bees.

The worker is a female born into a life of hard service. Initially she is a house-bee; she grooms and feeds the queen and cleans the hive. Later she moves on to the business of collecting pollen and nectar from flowers. A solitary bee would need to gather 37,000 loads of nectar to make 1 Ib of honey: this proves how essential it is to keep your bees happily multiplying. The worker processes the honey and makes the essential combs from wax produced by special glands. She is a most conscientious worker and even regulates the temperature of the hive by enthusiastic wing-fanning.

All this effort is crammed into a life of some six weeks - presumably the workers die of exhaustion! The larvae that exist in the brood chamber are fed on a kind of bee-milk. This is produced by the nurse-bees who process pollen that has been packed into comb cells by the worker-bees. It is nectar that is converted into the honey we eat. As the bee returns from gathering, enzymes are already at work converting the nectar to easily digestible sugars. The bee regurgitates this mixture into a cell of the honeycomb and it is sealed over with wax. In its own little hexagonal cell the honey matures. The airflow from the wing-fanning worker-bees evaporates some of the water contained in the cell. This is essential to the keeping of honey. If you gather the honey too soon while its water content is too high, you will find that it will not keep without fermenting.