Our speaker, Norm Diebold and his wife, Linda gave us an introduction to Bee Farming. His hives reside at Fern Hollow Nature Center and are used for educational purposes.
We learned there are seven recognized species of honey bees and 20,000 other bee species. They have been around for 30 million years. A typical hive will have 20,000 to 30,000 bees. Queens can live for 2-3 years. All the workers are female and drones are male. The worker bees can sting only once and it causes their death. Queens and drones can sting multiple times.
Norm talked about the ways bees communicate with pheromones, how they gather nectar to make honey, store pollen and seal cracks in the hive with propolis. Honey is antibacterial and never goes bad.
He went into a lot of detail about hive management and winter survival. The biggest problem is managing/preventing mite infestations. There were many questions, and Norm patiently answered them all.