In the honey bee colony, you'll see a workforce like no other. You'll see nurse maids, nannies, royal attendants, builders, architects, foragers, dancers, honey tenders, pollen packers, propolis or "glue" specialists, air conditioning and heating technicians, guards, and undertakers. Meanwhile, in the peak season, the queen bee keeps busy laying 1500 to 2000 eggs a day. It's a matriarchal society; the females do all the work. The males: their only job is to mate with a virgin queen. And then they die. Or, if they don't mate, their sisters will kick them out of the hive in the fall. They're not needed.
Want to learn more about honey bees?
Attend the third annual California Honey Festival, to take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, May 4 in downtown Woodland. It's sponsored by the City of Woodland and the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center. It's free and family friendly.
The festival, launched in 2017, aims to cultivate an interest in beekeeping, and to educate the public in support of bees and their keepers, according to Amina Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center.
The California Honey Festival's mission: to promote honey, honey bees and their products, and beekeeping. Through lectures and demonstrations, the crowd can learn about bees and how to keep them healthy. Issues facing the bees include pests, pesticides, diseases, malnutrition, and climate changes.
The event will include a cooking stage, a UC Davis educational stage, a kids' zone, a refreshment zone (beer and wine) and live entertainment, including Jayson Angove, Jessica Malone, Big Sticky Mess, Bocado Rio, Case Lipka, David Jacobin, Katgruvs, accordionist Jared Johnson, The City of Trees Brass Band and Double X Brass Band. Other live entertainment includes Space Walker and the Hand Stand Nation. Look for the UC Davis bee lab to present a live bee demonstration. The Pollinator Posse of the Bay Area, headed by Tora Rocha and Terry Smith, will be on hand to explain the importance of pollinators and what you can do to help them.
Meanwhile, let's hear it for the blue collar workers, the honey bees! Have you ever seen a honey bee packing blue pollen? They do when they forage on the tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii, which is blooming right now in the area. (Unlike humans, honey bees don't get the blues--unless they're collecting blue pollen!)
Author - Communications specialist
A honey bee packing blue pollen from the tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A honey bee in flight as it heads toward the tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii, resembles a red-ornamented Christmas tree when it's in bloom. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)