By Felecia Chavez
When asked if I would be willing to write about the life of bees, becoming a beekeeper, and sharing what a wonderful insight I have found with our hives, I said sure! What better way to educate? I am not by any means an expert on bees but what I am is someone that cares very deeply in what we leave for our children and grandchildren by way of a healthy earth, food that is healthy and not artificially changed, water that is not polluted, and taking care of our pollinators because without them we all lose, this is my legacy.
When I started beekeeping I had no idea I would not only become passionate about these wonderful insects but found that when talking about the life of bees I could impart (I hoped, little known facts that would help to educate most people). With the opening of my shop “La Bee da Loca” I found my calling, working around bees I found a sense of calm and peacefulness I hadn’t had in a long time. When I start talking about how the colony works together to get things accomplished and how each worker bee has a job to do people start asking questions which opens a dialogue and I have found that adults as well as children are very interested and are somewhat surprised about the life of bees and come away with a new found awareness of how important honey bees are to our existence.
In 1973 Karl von Frisch received the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his studies in the language of bees and how they share information in finding flowers, determining the value of each flower as a food source, being able to navigate their way back to the hive, and communicating all of these things to those of her sister bees by way of a waggle dance. A very intricate dance that each forager bee performs (I like to call it an internal GPS for all forager bees!).
A worker bee can live up to six weeks and in that time will only bring in 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime that in itself is a tremendous amount of work for such a small insect. So next time you go buy some honey think of just how many honey bees it took to make that one jar of honey.
Felecia Chavez is the owner of La Bee da Loca located at 236 E. Davis Street in Culpeper. You may reach her at 703-975-2966.