Monday, June 1, 2009
Some people can't live without coffee. I'm not one of them. However, I do have my own morning routine. Each day I enjoy a cup of hot green tea sweetened with a generous dollop of honey. It got me to thinking today about our honey-producing buddies, honeybees.
A highly social insect, honeybees live in colonies. Everyone has a job (they're busy as bees, you know!). The lone queen's job is to reproduce. The drones (the only male bees) live for a few weeks. Their job is to spot any new hatchling (the future queens!) and mate. Then there are the worker bees (I think we all know a few of them!). These sterile females tend the queen and babies, go out to gather nectar, and defend the hive. By the way, only females are capable of zapping you with a stinger. And then, alas, they die.
Recently there has been a lot of concern over a disease called Colony Collapse Disorder. Possibly caused by a virus, bees leave the hive and do not return. The result, of course, is the death of the colony. Research is underway to try and solve this problem before it seriously impacts the honeybee and honey production.
Check out more on honeybees here. They're fascinating critters, and how I enjoy the sweet fruits of their labor!