Thursday, October 24, 2019
Following the Sweet Path of Honey :: Bees Beehives Papers
Following the Sweet Path of Honey A bee alights upon a flower, having been attracted to it by the sweet smell of nectar. Knowing of the plant's readiness to release nectar, the bee begins to extract the sugary substance and stores it away in a stomach pouch along with the other nectar it has collected for the day. This is only the first step in a complex process that brings honey to our tables. In fact, it will take over two hundred days and trips to over eight hundred thousand flowers to produce a 35 ounce pot of honey. Honey is one of the few foods for which we still rely on a natural process, and it is the only one which relies on an insect. In a time when most foods are processed and produced in labs, the honey industry still revolves around the unique alchemy and ability of the honeybee. The path from flower to table connects nature to modern production. It is a simple product with complex connections and a fascinating process. It all begins in a manmade beehive; a multilevel contraption of boxes and screens that recreates the environment of a hive, but is designed to make removing excess honeycomb a more efficient procedure. A set of hives in the field looks more like abandoned dresser drawers than the site of mass production. Despite its uncomplicated aesthetics though, the beehive is a very efficient factory. Honeybees are perfect models for division of labor. Within their society there are three very distinct categories, each with specific duties and functions. The Worker Bees are the active force behind the hive. These female honeybees gather the nectar and pollen, feed the larvae and pupae, supply water, secrete beeswax, build comb, and complete many other necessary tasks. In its lifetime this Worker Bee will produce only half a teaspoon of honey, but it will travel fifty-five thousand miles to do so (Dadant1). The Drone is the most expendable member of the colony. These males bees only exist to impregnate the Queen Bee. In the winter months when the hive thins out due to the ceasing of honey production, it is mostly the Drones who are forced to leave and soon perish (Dadant 2). The center of reproduction in the colony is the Queen Bee.