When you first start beekeeping, you’ll probably be able to ID the queen – but anything beyond that might be a struggle. Bee society is made up of distinctly different types of bee, each with its own role in the hive.
Honey bee anatomy
We all know bees are insects with six legs and wings, but many of us only have a fuzzy idea of bee anatomy beyond that. Knowing how your bees’ bodies help them perform their tasks in the hive helps you know what to look for when you observe them.
Here’s our basic guide to bee anatomy.
New Zealand is home to 28 species of native bee, but most people wouldn’t recognise one buzzing past in the garden. Unlike their brightly coloured, social, honey-making cousins, native bees are mostly black, they lead solitary lives, and honey-making is not on their agenda.
Honey is great, but there’s more!
You might think of beekeeping as being all about honey, but it’s a whole lot more than that. Bees produce honey, sure, but along the way they create several other products that are useful to us humans. Propolis, beeswax and royal jelly are just some of the marketable substances beekeepers can harvest from their hives.
As anyone with a kitchen knows, ants are annoying scavengers. They’re constantly on the lookout for new food sources, and will use the tiniest entry point to gain access. If your kitchen is particularly messy – with food left on bench tops or jars left open – you may be more likely to attract these tiny invaders. It’s a similar story with your beehives.
About American Foulbrood Disease (AFB)
American foulbrood disease (AFB) is a disease of honey bee larvae and pupae caused by the bacterium Paenibacillus larvae.
How to get kids involved in beekeeping
Kids and beekeeping may not seem like natural partners. After all, beekeeping involves being patient, methodical and calm...
Common beekeeping mistakes
New beekeepers face a steep learning curve. Beekeeping is part science, part art, and it can take some time to get your head around the process.
Selling your honey
Everyone knows that bees make honey, but beginner beekeepers are often surprised by exactly how much they produce.