Bee Qualities (a continuation of print-edition story)
Savannah Lakes Village resident Josh Sandt has plenty of experience with beekeeping. In February’s print edition of Shorelines magazine, Josh talked with the Rod & Gun Club about beekeeping. Following is additional information:
By Patti Norris
Within the beehive there is a division and hierarchy of labor. The drones are for mating only. The females are the worker bees. Worker bees fall into several groups. The worker guard bees are at the entrance. These are the sentries to protect the hive from any intruders. There are worker nurse bees to help with the new hatchlings, and some take care of the queen.
When the weather is very hot, there are workers that only go out for water to maintain a safe temperature for the hive. They come back with water in their stomachs and expel water while they beat their wings to circulate moisture and cool the hive. Other worker bees go out for nectar and gather pollen on their legs in the hair follicles.
The ovary of the flower has the nectar. When they enter the flower and insert their proboscis, the stamens rub against their legs. The pollen is sticky and they go back to the hive with it. As they move from flower to flower, they are also pollinating in the process.
At the hive, the nurse bees pull off the pollen and either feed the hatchlings until the metamorphosis process begins or place it in the cells for storage. They seal the cell of the hatchlings when they are ready for metamorphosis. The fully developed bee eats the cap off the cell and is ready to join the hive.
Bees also have a fascinating communication process. Once they have found nectar or water, they go back to the hive and dance among the workers in the colony. This discloses the directions and distance to the source. The newly informed bees orient to the sun as they exit the hive, and then circle to get their bearings. Once this is accomplished, they go toward the direction of the source.
Some beekeepers lend hives to local farmers for pollination. They have to find out what insecticides are being used in the area before lending their bees in order to protect their colonies. Josh chooses not to participate in this service.
There are several benefits to honeycombs and honey. Many people eat honey with the pollen grains to alleviate allergies. It is best to eat local honey for this reason. Some people drink honey, vinegar and water during the cold season. Others mix honey with their favorite drink or in foods. It is also thought that you can chew the comb to get rid of a headache.
“Once you have a hive, you can begin to build from there. That is how I started. Then I began reading about it more because the more you work with them the more fascinated you become.”
Josh had three hives in his back yard in Maryland. He then transported one colony to South Carolina. I asked if the bees were adaptable for this process. He said, “I chose bees that were disease resistant.” He noticed some in a wood duck box living in the woods.
He took them home and placed them in a hive body. These are the ones he transported. He took the hive and placed them in the car for transport. He had to seal the entrance with a screen. He chose to transport the bees in the winter, because in the wintertime they congregate in a tight cluster while the outside bees beat their wings to maintain warmth in the hive.
Once placed in the 70-degree temperature of the car, the bees left the hive and began to explore. About six bees escaped into the car one at a time during the drive. He stopped and blocked the hole to prevent any more escapees. The rest of the bees made it safely to South Carolina. He now has four hives in McCormick County.