All About Bees: Inside the Hive

Once you understand how Kiawah River’s Golden Honey is made, every taste will be even sweeter.  

Chuck Hudspeth, the Kiawah River beekeeper, is inviting us to learn more through the new series, All About Bees, to share fascinating facts about these curious creatures.  

With bee populations declining, Chuck ensures that the Kiawah River hives are protected and nurtured with dedicated care. The bees play a role in pollinating the wide variety of wildflowers and vegetation, contributing to the health of Kiawah River’s environment. Every bee has a special duty in protecting and growing the hive. It is hard work to take care of a Queen that lays around 2,000 eggs a day!  

You might have tried Kiawah River’s Golden Honey and tasted the pure, rich dew that these honeybees work hard to make. Every batch has a flavor that matches the seasonal vegetation, and every half-teaspoon takes the entire lifespan of one bee to produce.  

The process of creating this delicious honey begins with the females, which are also known as honeybees. 

Honeybees fly off and collect nectar from farm crops such as squash, strawberries and wildflowers 

They need one main ingredient, nectar, which is a sugary water that is produced by the flowers to help attract pollinators. Honeybees drink nectar from the clover fields to store in their second stomach called a honey stomach. To fill this stomachone bee may have to visit up to 1,000 flowers. A colony will fly over 55,000 miles just to produce one pound of honey. 

Once their stomach is heavy, the honeybees return to the hive. Inside their honey stomach, they have already started to turn the nectar into honey with their digestive enzymes. 

Then, they eject the contents of the stomach through their mouth into the mouth of another bee, each time breaking down the nectar. The last bee in the chain places the honey into the honeycomb. 

A group of bees will fly over the honeycomb, fanning their wings to create a draft and dry out what is left of the watery texture in the raw nectar. The thick, rich and delicious honey is ready. 

The bees finish the job by adding more wax on top of the honeycomb, so the honey is safe inside until the beekeeper is ready to use it. 

This is just a fraction of the story of life  within our beehives. Keep watching Beekeeper Chuck’s videos to learn more about these fascinating creatures!