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10 May . 2018

Sweetwater’s queen bees busy laying 1,000 eggs a day

Some of us are looking forward to a summer vacation, but not the hardworking queen bees of Sweetwater’s six beehives.

Since mid-March, each queen has been busy laying about 1,000 eggs a day, a labor they will continue through the end of July. By the time they’re finished, they will have laid more than 800,000 eggs.

Here are some more fun facts about Hill Country bees from Jennifer Harbour, a beekeeper with Round Rock Honey, Sweetwater’s partner in maintaining its hives.

  • Each egg takes 21 days to hatch. Each bee emerges full-grown and gets immediately to work.
  • Bees live about one month on average.
  • Worker bees spend the first two weeks of their lives inside, helping to feed the queen and cleaning the hive. They spend the final two weeks outside, foraging for pollen and nectar.
  • A worker bee flies about 5,000 miles outside before it dies.
  • Bees mix the nectar they gather with enzymes inside their abdomens, creating a mixture that will eventually become honey. Each flap of their wings creates a mixing motion.
  • In the hive, bees place the nectar-enzyme mixture into cells. They use the flapping action of their wings to reduce the humidity level of the mixture from 90% to 18%. When it reaches the ideal level, they seal it with a wax cap, and it becomes honey.
  • Bees make “bee bread” for food. This mixture of pollen (protein) and honey (carbohydrate) provides the perfect nutritional balance.

Learn more about our partnership with Round Rock Honey.