DAY 21: AWESOME QUEEN BEES and BANANA POPSICLES

queen bee 2FACT 21 – AWESOME QUEEN BEES – For up to three days, a virgin queen bee flies for the sole purpose of mating with as many drones as possible. Her eggs are not fertilized during these mating flights; the sperm from all of the drones is collected and stored in an organ called the spermatheca.

The queen can lay up to 20,000 eggs daily; each egg is released from one of her two ovaries then travels down an oviduct (an equivalent to the human fallopian tube) to continue through the spermatheca, where it is fertilized prior to being dropped into a beeswax comb cell. In this manner, a queen bee can fertilize thousands of eggs for the next seven years.

The queen’s primary purpose is to lay eggs.  Fertilized eggs become female worker bees or queen bees and unfertilized eggs become male drone bees. Even when she is carried by a swarm of bees to a new hive, her sole purpose is to populate the new hive with her brood.

The queen bee’s every need is met by her attendant bees, including feeding her and removing her waste. This constant attention is two-fold, to attend to the queens needs but also to monitor the queen’s pheromone levels. Her attendants touch the queen and then touch other bees until the queen pheromone reaches the entire colony; in this way, every bee knows their queen is healthy and actively laying eggs. Her pheromone levels will start to drop as her eggs are depleted; when this happens, the worker bees prepare queen cells for a new queen bee.

Get this stuff! Should the current queen be able to win in battle against a new queen, she will remain queen of the hive and continue to lay eggs. I just really like that part.  Eventually, the colony will sense another drop in pheromones and the cycle of introducing a new queen repeats.

Photograph by Penny De Los Santos-Diabetic cookbook, Author Amgela MedearisRECIPE 21 – BANANA POPSICLE are a great treats.

INGREDIENTS – fresh, firm bananas / Popsicle sticks / honey – a strong wildflower variety / granola

DIRECTIONS – Place wax paper on either a nonstick pan or a small baking sheet. Peal the bananas and cut them in half. Insert a Popsicle stick into each piece of banana. With a knife or spatula, spread my cardamom or cinnamon Artisan Creamed Honey on each banana.  Roll the banana in granola until completely covered. Place the Popsicle on the wax paper. Freeze and store each in a seal-able sandwich bag.

SOURCE: Carol Hagen, honey artisan

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