Bee Charmer or QUEEN BEE
I recently had the pleasure of visiting Carmel Valley Ranch. Because of their outstanding breath- taking location, they have the ingredients to create truly unique experiences for their guest. It’s a beautiful resort reinventing itself in a way that takes them back to their roots.
At the ranch you can take advantage of the more traditional activities such as 18 holes of world-class golf, hundreds of miles of hiking trails to explore and spa, or you can get up close and HANDS ON with thousands of honey bees in their an apiary - which is what I did!
This is a one of a kind experience to learn and discover things you never knew about honey bees and the lavender they pollinate on the ranch. The lavender and honey is put to use by the property for amenities and dining as well as the essential oils used in Carmel Valley Ranches spa.
John Russo, lavender farmer and bee charmer describes his life’s passion as “The plants, the soil, and the creatures all work together to create a vitality that not only supports life, but enhances it.”
John walked us through how he cultivates the lavender, cares for and checks his bees and along the way educated us on honey bees and how important they are to our eco-system.
Did you know…..
1. There are three kinds of bees in a hive: Queen, Worker and Drone.
2. Only the Queen in the hive lays eggs. She communicates with her hive with her own special scent called pheromones. The Queen will lay around 1,500 eggs per day.
3. The worker bees are all female and do all of the work for the hive.
4. Bees have two stomachs - one stomach for eating and the other special stomach is for storing nectar collected from flowers or water so that they can carry it back to their hive.
5. The male bees in the hive are called drones and they don't have a stinger.
6. If a worker bee uses her stinger, she will die.
7. Bees are classified as insects and they have six legs.
8. Bees have five eyes - two compound eyes and three tiny ocelli eyes.
9. The bees use their honeycomb cells to raise their babies in and to store nectar, honey, pollen and water.
10. Bees are the only insect in the world that make food for humans - HONEY.
What I learned in one afternoon with John was fascinating and I even surprised myself at how calm I was once we were around and working with the bees and their hives. Thousands of bees were flying around us as we checked and studied the hives for activity and anything that might upset the swarm – and we found something – MITES on some of the bees. It looked like a little tiny red bump on some of the bee’s backs.
John uses a “Bio-Dynamic Cycle of life and farming that’s essential to perpetuate and enhance the natural energy of the land and its animals”, which means no chemicals. So to rid the bees of the mites we coated them in powdered sugar. John explained that covering them lightly with the sugar causes them to groom themselves until all of the powdered sugar is off - hence picking the mites off of their bodies by grooming!
I was fascinated by his knowledge and my experience at Carmel Valley Ranch with these fascinating creatures.
I would highly recommend this activity and I will never look at a honey bee the same way again!
Check out more about John and his farm here: www.carmellavender.com.