Storie dei nostri Borghi
Knowing the life of a beehive is a truly fascinating experience, if then the lesson on bees and honey is held by a 90-year-old beekeeper takes on a tone of positive magic.
At an altitude of 400 meters on Lake Como, in the locality of Perla above Abbadia Lariana, on the Lecco shore, Roberto Maglia, a hobbyist beekeeper, his wife Loredana is very keen to emphasize this, explained us the magic of the life of bees.
More than just a natural science lesson, Roberto gave a real life lesson.
Having such a strong passion for bees and for the production of their honey at the age of 90 and still having such strong physical strength at the age of 90 is a teaching that he, with a simple pride and a great popular wisdom, can certainly offer to everyone.
His greatest teaching could be summarized with these simple words: love and passion for nature and specifically for bees make long-lived, intellectually fresh, physically strong and are a living example of how the bond with the Earth and nature is extremely therapeutic.
Bees appeared on Earth 4 million years ago, but the first historical traces of honey harvesting date back to prehistoric cave paintings 15,000 years ago. These paintings were found in Valencia in Spain and portray people who collect a honeycomb from a tree trunk.
The nesting of bees and consequently the official beekeeping dates back to around 2500-3000 BC. in the fertile crescent. The first villagers were created, the honeycombs of the past.
Beekeeping was very often linked to priestly figures who were then the first to use beeswax to make candles that lit up places of worship.
To make a qualitative leap in production, it is necessary to wait until 1865 when the centrifugal honey extractor was invented and when the ancient villic hives were replaced by hives with mobile honeycombs.
The most important task of a beekeeper is to regularly monitor and check the state of the art. Taking care of the hive is extremely important to have an excellent honey harvest.
Let’s start with the hive.
Each hive is a colony or family. In each hive lives only one queen, many worker bees which are sterile, a small number of males and from the broods, the children of bees.
The work of the bees and their number serves to maintain the right temperature inside the hive. Bees do not come out if it is less than 15 ° C outside, they love spring and summer. The queen lives from 3 to 5 years while the worker bees and males only live a little over a month.
Curious fact: bees never sleep.
How are worker bees born? And the queens?
The males fertilize the queen bee, only a few males are needed to give the queen the necessary seed, the other males remain in stock.
The queen lays the eggs in the cell, up to 2000 per day, three days later the larvae are born. The larvae are fed royal jelly for the first three days, then only with a mixture of pollen and honey.
Royal jelly is produced by a secretion of the pharyngeal glands of worker bees. After 10 days of feeding, the worker bees seal the cell with wax. The larva then closes in a cocoon and after 12 days the young bee is born which, however, is already the size of the adult bee. The process takes 3 weeks.
The queen bee, on the other hand, was born in the same way but with significant differences.
The eggs for the queens are deposited when the family senses that their current queen is out of date, the larvae cell of the new queens is much larger than those of the worker bees or drones larvae and the number of candidate bees to being queens is limited to a maximum of 12. The larvae of future queen bees are fed exclusively with Royal Jelly. Melodrama is that the first queen who is born kills all the other candidates for the kingdom.
And how is honey produced and how do bees live and work?
In the next article we will talk about it, for now remember to take two teaspoons of honey every morning, but the good one, produced by real beekeepers.
Video – l’Ape Maia
Un abbraccio/ a big Hug