Bees!

Watch them buzz around and do their work on the farm.
children gathered around the farm store observation hive

Our Observation Hive in the store

Visit our observation hive located in the store for a fascinating window into the heart of a honeybee hive.  You will be mesmerized by their busyness, their sense of purpose in every motion and unavoidably you will be educated by simply watching.

Questions about the hive:

Can the bees go outside? At the bottom of our hive is a tube which leads to a box connected to an opening in the outside wall.  The bees are free to fly in and out as they wish. However, when it gets too cold outside the bees will not go out as their bodies get too cold and they cannot fly, so they stay inside the hive where it is warm.

Why are some of the cells filled with different colors? The bees collect pollen for food for their young, the pollen may be different colors based on the plant that it is collected from, sometimes it is bright yellow at other times it might be a reddish or purple color.

What is on the legs of some of bees? Worker bees have pollen sacs on the back of their legs where they hold the pollen to bring back to the hive, these bees are carrying the pollen to be stored in the cells.

Why do the sealed cells look different?  Some are capped honey cells and some are brood cells where larvae or babies are developing beneath the sealed surface.  The flatter cells are honey.

What to look for in the hive:

There are three kinds of honeybees in the hive; the Worker Bee, the Drone, and the Queen.

Worker Bees on uncapped honey

Worker Bees on uncapped honey

Worker Bees: These are the smallest of the three bees you will see in the hive; they are also the most plentiful and the busiest!  The workers are all females; in an emergency they can lay an unfertilized egg which can only produce a drone.  Workers have many different jobs in the hive and their jobs change as they mature.  They begin as housekeepers, keeping the hive clean, then nurses, feeding the babies, next they help to store the food, build wax comb and protect the entrance until finally they become foragers and fly out seeking food for the hive.  As foragers their wings will eventually give out and they will die.  A winter worker bee will live longer than a summer worker as they have much less wear and tear on the wings.

Drones: These are the male bees; they do not have any internal organs for making wax, collecting honey or stingers to protect the hive.  Their only purpose is for mating with the queen.   In appearance they are much larger than the worker bees with larger abdomens and eyes; they are often mistaken for the queen.   A healthy hive allows for drones to be present during times of abundant food supply, however, as the food supply starts to run short the drones are kicked out of the hive by the worker bees.  A drone which has been banned from the hive cannot survive on its own as it has no ability to gather food or protect itself.

Queen Bee:  Each hive has only one queen, her only job is to lay eggs for the hive.  If the queen dies or if the hive feels she is not doing a good job they will make a new queen by feeding royal jelly to a fertilized egg (female) this will cause the egg to develop into a queen, usually there will be 3 or 4 queens developed at the same time.  Only one queen can survive however.  The first queen to emerge from her cell will seek out and destroy the other queens, once she has done this, she will leave the hive for her one and only time in a mating flight.  Once she has mated, she will return to the hive where she will remain until she either dies or the half of the hive swarms with her in it.

Location and Contact

342 Altamont Rd. | Altamont, NY 12009 | Map | Directions

Tel: (518) 765-2956

Hours

Farm Store:
Open 9am-6pm 7 days a week

Yellow Rock Cafe:
Serving M-F 11am-2pm
Sa-Su 9am-3pm

Cidery & Brewery:
Open Th-F 4pm-9pm
Sat 11am-10pm
Sun 11am-7pm
(518) 655-0108

Pick Your Own - Closed for season
Business office open weekdays.
(518) 765-2956