All About Bees!

Learn more about the special honeys of Ethiopia & how to take care of your own bees at home.

Honeycomb

Honey: Liquid Gold!

Ethiopian beekeepers and their bees make all sorts of delicious honeys. Each honey has its own unique flavor that depends on the species of honey bee and the type of pollen that the honey bee likes to collect. For example, a hive of honey bees that likes to collect pollen from jasmine flowers might make honey that tastes like jasmine!

One of the rarest and tastiest honeys in all of Ethiopia is called Tigray White Honey. To make this special honey, bees in Tigray, Ethiopia collect pollen from sage flowers. And instead of golden yellow, their honey is a bright, milky white!

The Bees In Your Backyard

There are over 4,000 different species of bees that are native to the United States. But, none of them are honey bees. Honey bees were brought to this country from Europe! Next time you see a bee in your backyard, see if you can identify whether it's one of these types of bees that are native to the United States:

Bumblebee

Bumblebee

There are over 250 different species of bumblebees. They live in hives like honey bees, but don't produce any honey. And they have big, round bodies covered in fuzzy hair. 

Mason Bee

Mason Bee

Mason bees are solitary bees - that means they live alone, not in big hives. This is one type of bee that might live in your bee house. Mason bees can be green, blue, black, or a rust-colored red.

Carpenter Bee

Carpenter Bee

You might also find carpenter bees living in your bee house. Many carpenter bees are all black, but some have bits of white or yellow. The name carpenter bee comes from their habit of digging nests inside of wood. 

TIPS: How To Take Care Of Your Bee House

Making your own bee house is a great way to help your local bees find a comfortable home. These bees are wonderful pollinators and help our plants thrive. But, making a bee house is just Step One. In order to be a responsible bee house owner, you need to properly take care of your bee house so that you're not doing more harm than good. Here are a few tips on how to make sure your bees are happy and healthy.

Keep Your Bees Safe

TIP #1: keep them dry!
Make sure your bee house is well protected from the rain. Soggy bee houses don't make good homes and could hurt bees that have already moved in.

TIP #2: keep them warm!
Bees like warm houses. See if you can find a place to put your house that gets plenty of morning sun.

TIP #3: keep them secure!
The last thing you want is for a gust of wind to blow your bee house to the ground. So, your bee house should be securely attached to a house, tree, or other sturdy object. Avoid hanging your house from a branch.

Bee House
Pollen bee

Keep Your Bees Healthy

It's very important that you take care of your bee house even after bees have moved in. If you don't, unwanted guests (like predators and parasites) may move in and harm your bees. 

TIP #1: keep an eye out for bee activity!
Bees will be most active during the early summer. You might see a variety of different bees visiting your house to see if it would be a good home. If a female bee decides to move in, you might notice her plug the end of a tube with mud or other material. Congratulations, she's laid an egg in the tube and you're going to have a bee-baby!

TIP #2: prepare your bee-babies for winter!
If bees have laid eggs in your bee house, it's up to you to keep them safe until they're ready to hatch. In the fall, move your bee house indoors (don't worry, they won't hatch until spring!) and place them in a shoe box with holes or other container. Keep them safe until the end of winter and put them outside to hatch once it starts getting warm. 

TIP #3: don't re-use your bee house tubes!
To protect bees against mites and parasites, it is best to throw out your old paper tubes and put in new ones every year. Replace the paper tubes in the early spring, after all of your bees have hatched.