Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The World Around Us: Inside the Life of the Honey Bee by Tyler Southard, Macon Georgia , TV24 Reporter

The World Around Us: Inside the Life of the Honey Bee

Tyler Southard, TV24 Reporter Macon Georgia

It’s a hot summer day and this colony of bees are providing southern air conditioning to their hive. These bees are making honey, and for beekeeper John Pluta of Milledgeville, it’s a cash crop.

“I basically have the sweetest job in Georgia" says Pluta as he samples honey straight from the hive.

John doesn’t wear the traditional astronaut like suit when working but instead relies on smoking out the colonies which masks pheromones that are released when dangers is around, and it’s time to sting.

“I tell them every morning not to sting me" says Pluta.

Bees are a somewhat feared and misunderstood creature but serve a very important role in nature as a means for cross pollination of flowers, trees, and crops with a very delicious result.

A beehive can contain up to thirty thousand bees which are moved around to different crops throughout the year producing up to three to four different varieties of honey throughout the year.

This industrious insect also produces propolis resin from sap and other botanical sources that they use to seal off the hive. This resin is also used by humans for medicinal purposes. Beeswax, the framing structure of the honey comb, also has a number of uses from cosmetics to candles.

Pollen that becomes wet and damaged in the hive can no longer be used for honey but instead serves as a protein rich food sources for baby bees and is also popular among athletes and vegetarians.

After about 4 weeks of work, the honey combs are full.

“All this honey right here is still really clear and is making what we call light honey and this darker honey is what we classify as wildflower" says Pluta as he describes the coloration of a honey comb frame.

At this time, John fires up a special machine which uses centripetal force to extract the raw honey.

“We bee making honey" exclaims Pluta as he pours a fresh jar of sweet honey.