This weekend I had an opportunity to learn yet another aspect of beekeeping. I was very generously invited to attend my first honey harvest with Yuuki and Joe of Four Seasons Apiaries. Because I relish any opportunity to spend time with bees, I excepted the invitation without hesitation.
Although the mechanics of the extraction process are quite simple, I was still amazed. As always I learned things that deepened my respect and awe for this fascinating species -- Apis Mellifera, the European Honeybee. For example, Honeybees very precisely evaporate the water content of nectar down to 14%-18% before capping the honeycomb to seal in the honey. It is this evaporation process coupled with the process of bees regurgitating nectar that gives honey its resilience and eternal shelf life.
Every time I encounter the honeybee, whether it is foraging in my garden or I'm experiencing some aspect of beekeeping, I am left utterly amazed. The complexity of a honeybee's life is truly a wonder.
And because nature has a way of stacking miracle upon miracle, a walk out to the apiary to have a look at the hives brought us another wonder -- there, eye-level in a tree was a carnivorous bald-faced hornet dining on a honeybee. As Yuuki so eloquently stated, "That's nature at its finest and you're looking at it."