Bee Industry and Bee History
Beekeeping can be a wonderfully rewarding hobby for people of all ages. It can also be a profitable agricultural business for others. We encourage our urban neighbors to become responsible, aware, and respectful beekeepers. We are happy to help anyone get started with a great experience.
About the Honey Bee:
Honeybees are fascinating creatures. Over 1/3 of the food we eat depends on insect pollination and honeybees are responsible for 80% of the workload. Did you know that millions of domestic hives are transported across the country for pollination services each year?
Honeybees are highly social and organized insects. They are only pollinator that can be domestically kept on a large scale. Their colonies can consist of up to 60,000 bees. A hive consists of just 1 queen who is responsible for laying all the eggs. She can lay up to 2500 eggs a day! The vast majority of the bees in a hive are female workers. It is their responsibility to maintain the hive, act as nurse bees to developing larvae, forage for pollen, nectar and water, as well as care for the queen. At some times of the year they raise male bees called drones. The male’s only job is to mate with a queen.
Honeybees are one of the world’s most important pollinators. A large portion of our diet depends on honeybee pollination. While there are many insects and creatures that pollinate our crops and flowers, honeybees are the only ones suited to keep domestically on a large scale. This makes them important for orchards and other farmers.
The origins of beekeeping can be traced back thousands of years. There have been many types of hive containers found in archeological digs and illustrations of men harvesting honey from nests in cave paintings. Honey was the world’s only sweetener available in the Old World. Honey is also the only food that never spoils if stored properly. Honey was found in ancient ruins in Egypt that was still edible!
Honeybees are not indigenous to North or South America. Early settlers first brought them over to the Americas in the 17th century. Bees were first brought to California in the early 1800′s. At that time people were not even aware that honeybees were important for pollinating crops. Beekeepers and fruit growers often argued because the farmers believed that the bees were damaging their fruit! Today, pollination and honey production are two very large and important industries in our economy.
Honeybees are incredible creatures. They are highly organized and employ highly developed communication techniques. There are many subspecies of honeybees found throughout the world. They come in different sizes and colors. The honeybees used for beekeeping in the United States are typically of European descent. These European bees once made up the wild population throughout the country (having swarmed out of domesticated hives), but now most of the southern states’ feral bee populations are saturated with the Africanized bees. This hybrid has been present since the 1990′s in some states, and continues to migrate into new areas.
THE OC BEEKEEPERS ASSOCIATION
The OCBA was formed in the 1970′s. Our membership is currently comprised of mostly small-scale beekeepers who are dedicated to keeping bees in the urban environment. The roots here in OC are agricultural, and we haven’t forgotten that. Copyright 2018