Why “Urban” Beekeeping?
We at HoneyLove believe that the city is the last refuge of the honeybee. Our home gardens are free of pesticides, and in cities like Los Angeles, there is year-round availability of pollen and nectar.
Fun Facts About Honeybees
- Bees pollinate 80% of the world’s plants including 90 different food crops.
- 1 out of every 3 or 4 bites of food you eat is thanks to bees.
- The honey bee is responsible for $15 billion in U.S. agricultural crops each year.
- Honey is the only food that does not spoil (bacteria can’t grow in it, and because of it’s low moisture content and low pH – honey can last indefinitely).
- Bees maintain a temperature of 92-93 degrees fahrenheit in their central brood nest regardless of whether the outside temperature is 110 or -40 degrees.
- The honey bee is the only insect that produces food eaten by man.
- Man’s first alcoholic beverage, mead, is a wine made with honey.
Do the Honeybee Math
- Bees fly a few tenths of a mile up to 6 miles to gather nectar.
- Bees leave the hive 15 times per day and visit around 100 flowers each time – that’s 1,500 flowers a day!
- Bees can collect up to 4-5 pounds of nectar each day.
- 4 pounds of nectar = 1 pound of honey
- 8 pounds of nectar = 1 pound of beeswax
- 1 lb of honey = visiting two million flowers and flying 55,000 miles.
- The average worker bee produces about 1/12th tsp of honey in her lifetime.
- The 6 sided hex shape of honeycomb is the strongest shape per material weight.
- Bees can not see the color red (it looks green to them), but they can detect ultraviolet reflectance.
- Americans consume about 1.31 pounds of honey per person annually.
Threats to the Bees
- CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder): Over the last 3 years, more than 1 in 3 honeybee colonies has died nationwide. After WWII there were 5 million honeybee colonies… now there are only half that many (2.5 million).
- Pests: Threats to the bee are Wax Moths, Varroa Mites, Tracheal Mites, American Foulbrood, Colony Collapse Disorder.
- Fear: “The most common concern about honeybees is bee stings. Honeybees are not aggressive by nature and are unlikely to sting. Only 0.4% of Americans report an allergy to insect stings in the U.S., and almost none of these are caused by honeybees. In addition, less than 1% of the US population is at risk of systemic reaction to stings by honeybees. Severe reactions from the sting of any one insect in a year are 1 in 5,555,556. The chance that someone will be hit by a car is 59.3% higher.” (JustFood.org)
Plants Loved by Honeybees
- Native and old-fashioned “heirloom” varieties
- Borage, sage, mint, thyme, lavender (and most other herbs too)
- Butterfly bush, daisies, honeysuckle, sunflowers, blackberries, raspberries
- Pears, peaches, apricots, apples
- Maples, willows, poplars, locusts
Click here for a full list of bee-friendly plants! (PDF)