There must be a hive somewhere in the neighborhood, because bees visit my garden very often, to gather nectar from their favorite flowers. Sedums produce an abundance of it, and their small flowers make an insect's work a little easier.

Did you know that a worker bee lives just forty days over the summer and during all this time of collecting nectar it only manages to gather a twelfth of a teaspoon's worth of honey? I feel guilty now, just thinking of all the times honey dripped off the bread.

Worker bees are exclusively female and sterile, and they are responsible for all the work in the hive, from cleaning to building repairs, caring for the young and of course, gathering nectar and pollen. There is no biological difference between a worker bee and a queen bee. When the hive needs a new queen it starts feeding one of the female larvae only royal jelly. This bee ambrosia makes it grow one and a half times bigger, extends her lifespan to sixty times that of a regular bee and kick starts her fertility cycle.

When bees are cared for by bee keepers, the queen is purposefully bred and introduced to the hive, which often, but not always, accepts her without a challenge.

Since queen bees need to be replaced regularly, the beekeeping industry uses a color code, to keep track of the year the queen had been introduced to the hive. It is common practice for queen bees to be marked with a small dot of that year's color on their throat or thorax, usually by the breeder.

The queen bee's productive lifespan is two to three years. This seems dire if you don't compare it with the average life of a worker bee.

Don't avoid these beneficial insects. They rarely sting unless threatened and will allow you to get very close if you don't bother them, which explains how I took this picture.

Author's Bio: 

Main Areas: Garden Writing; Sustainable Gardening; Homegrown Harvest
Published Books: “Terra Two”; “Generations”; "The Plant - A Steampunk Story"; "Letters to Lelia"; "Fair"; "Door Number Eight"; "A Year and A Day"; "Möbius' Code"; "Between Mirrors"; "The Blue Rose Manuscript"
Career Focus: Author; Consummate Gardener;
Affiliation: All Year Garden; The Weekly Gardener; Francis Rosenfeld's Blog

I started blogging in 2010, to share the joy of growing all things green and the beauty of the garden through the seasons. Two garden blogs were born: and, a periodical that followed it one year later. I wanted to assemble an informal compendium of the things I learned from my grandfather, wonderful books, educational websites, and my own experience, in the hope that other people might use it in their own gardening practice.