Happy Honeybees

Honeybee on Borage

A Honeybee collecting nectar from Borage.

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting a small farm in Northern Pennsylvania with an estimated 750,000 bees. That may sound like a plethora, but so many bees live in a single hive they begin to add up quickly.

I’ve always wanted bees and learned some fascinating facts about these magical and unique creatures during my visit. Here are a few facts about the types of bees and their function, as well as a recipe for Lavender Honey Sugar Scrub (because honey and bee products in general are fabulous for your skin).

Honeybee hives behind an electric fence to protect the hives from bears and other predators.

Queen Bee – The longest living of all the bees, the Queen rules over the hive and is the sole producer of new bees. There is only one Queen per hive. When a Queen dies a new one is created when the Nurse Bees select a female larvae and feed it Royal Jelly (the illustrious secret ingredient of many beauty products) until she is sexually mature and capable of reproduction. Most Worker Bees are only fed royal jelly for a couple of days and are then switched to a diet of honey and pollen, making them incapable of reproduction. However, life isn’t all sunshine and roses for a Queen. If a Queen becomes too old and weak and fails to die naturally the Worker Bees will sense her weakness and cuddle around her to smother her to death after they have created a new Queen.

Drone Bees – These male bees are solely there for the Queen’s mating purposes. They convert the Queen’s egg into numerous male cells and mate with her to fertilize new eggs. After mating with the Queen, and particularly in the winter, these bees will die, one way or another. Males are ejected from the hive and die during the off season to retain honey stores for the Queen and females. Males do not have a stinger and females are the only honeybees that are capable of stinging a human. The females do die after stinging, as the stinger remains in the victim and part of the bees organs are pulled out with the stinger.

Fanning Bees – These bees work to cool the hive on hot days by fanning their wings as quickly as possible. Water Carrier Bees bring water into the hive that the Fanning Bees then evaporate with air generated by their wings.

Guard Bees protect the hive from invaders.

Guardian Bees – Guardian Bees attack intruders and guard the entrance to the hive. This is there soul purpose. They keep bees from other hives out and ensure the bees are bringing in the appropriate pollens to the hive.

Mortuary Bees – These bees remove dead bees and ensure they’re properly expunged from the population in the hive. They will fly the dead bees a significant distance from the hive and do not discard them close by.

Bees are amazing creatures, and produce unique natural substances that are beneficial to mankind. Local honeys are a wonderful help with allergies. And honey, royal jelly and beeswax are all found in numerous beauty products. Below is a homemade mixture you can try for a honey based body scrub. Good stuff!

Lavender Honey Sugar Scrub
Mix the following ingredients thoroughly in a bowl:
1/2 Cup Organic Cane Sugar
1/2 Cup Local Honey
5 drops (1/2 Tsp) Lavender Essential Oil
2 Tbsp Water
Use in the shower and wash off with warm water.



  1. Cheryl says:

    Who knew, all these amazing things about bees. Thanks Jess!

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    About the Author – Jes

    About the Author

    On this site I share my bottomless passion for good food, big adventures and green spaces. You can learn more about my wellness programming, cooking and gardening classes and Ayurvedic offerings here.

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    All of the content (including recipes) on Urban Sacred Garden is the original work of Jessica Pendergrass, unless otherwise noted. You are welcome to link to this site and its content, but please ensure proper credit and let me know so I can return the favor. Any duplication of the content or recipes is by permission only. Please contact me via e-mail for permission or if you have any other questions.
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