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Food, glorious food!

Apis Mellifera, better known as honey bee

A European honey bee (Apis mellifera) extracts...

Image via Wikipedia

Magician, alchemist, master builder, diligent worker …. the humble honey bee

Some trivia about Apis Mellifera:

  • Female bees make up about 99% of a colony, and they are mainly the workers, the ones that go out and foraging for nectar.
  • Drones are the males and their one and only role is to fertilise the queen and are often kicked out before the onset of winter.
  • Female bees, a.k.a. worker bees have an average life span on about four weeks.
  • Bees forage within 5km radius of their hive.
  • Worker bees tend to die from exhaustion and their wings are worn out from the friction of flying.
  • During its entire foraging life, a worker bee would produce enough honey to cover the surface of a fingernail.
  • A biological machine, the queen bee lives only to lay eggs, as many as 2000 per day.
  • The queen and drones mate in mid air, know as the “nuptial flight.”
  • In the act of mating, the drones committed sexual suicide, meaning they die with their endophallus attached to the queen as they fly away from her.
  • Bees help pollinate about 2/3 of the plant species worldwide.
  • Only worker bees can administer a sting, and in doing so she dies as the sting barb is firmly embedded and as she flies away, it rips open her abdomen.
  • A cell is precisely constructed – hexagonal with a three four-sided figures at the base.

There is a revival of urban beekeeping in Melbourne, which is much needed. Bees worldwide are tremendous threat, especially from pesticide widely used in monoculture non-organic farming practice.

If you have small yard, or a rooftop and would like to keep a beehive or two, check out this blog site and get in contact with urban beekeeper Martin O’Callaghan at The Urban Hive.

For further reading:

  • A short History of the Honey Bee by E. Readicker-Henderson
  • Bees by Rudolph Steiner

Inside a top bar hive

Bee friendly backyard with bee-attracting plants

Urban permaculture: chicken run, bee hive and fruit trees.


About Urban permaculturist

I have an interest in sustainability; from food security to renewable energy. I am also a keen food gardener and vegetarian cook. For more information, check out my blog at:

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