Buzzing for Bees

Did you know that the Zoo has kept honey bees for the last 22 years? The Norfolk Beekeepers currently maintain our hives. About 30lbs of honey are harvested from the hives each year, but their main purpose is education and conservation.

It takes about 556 worker bees traveling over 55,000 miles, visiting 2 million flowers to gather enough nectar to make 1 pound of honey. The average worker honey bee makes 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime. That is 5 drops of honey. Amazing!

Honey is used by the bees for food all year round. There are many types, colors and flavors of honey, depending upon its nectar source. The bees make honey from the nectar they collect from flowering trees and plants. Honey is an easily digestible, pure food. It’s even antibacterial – eating local honey is thought by many to fend off allergies.

Virginia agriculture depends greatly on the honeybee for pollination. Honey bees account for 80% of all insect pollination for over 80 food crops in the state. Without such pollination, we would see a significant decrease in the abundance and affordability of fruits and vegetables.

Special thanks to Zoo volunteer and beekeeper John Schonk for sharing his extensive knowledge about bees for this post.

To learn more, come to the Zoo this Saturday, August 15 from 11am-2pm as we celebrate National Honey Bee Day. Free with regular admission.