Gary introduced speaker of the day Brian Gillham a beekeeper from Estrella Honey Bees.  He raises bees and also does swarm removal. He indicated he likes to do different stuff and simply likes playing with bees. Even though his bee suit has three layers, he has had as many as 40-50 bee stings at a time often getting stung on his hands.  

So, for those of you who were not present—would you rather be the queen bee, a worker bee or a drone?

Brian explained that it takes about 21 days for a worker bee to hatch, 24 days for a drone and 16 days for a queen—the difference in these three types of bees depends on what they’re fed. The queen is fed only Royal Jelly and can live up to five years, while the other two in this caste system are fed royal jelly for only three days. The job of the queen is to mate with the drone and lay as many as 2,000 eggs a day. A worker bee lives 6-8 weeks — are they simply worked to death? — and a drone dies when he mates with the queen. Bummer! Did you change your mind? 

The box Brian is showing above can hold up to 100 pounds of honey. The box on the left contains bees, including the queen. He will re-ease them in the desert when he returns home. 

Brian explained that Africanized bees arrived in the US in the 80’s—starting in Brazil where they tried to increase honey production by mixing African bees that make lots of honey with European bees that are gentle, but things didn’t quite work that way—several swarms escaped and the Africanized bees began moving north. He also explained that not all Africanized bees should be destroyed. These are just a few of the facts covered in this interesting and informative presentation!