The Bee Experience at Carmel Valley Ranch

Bee Experience BEESKNEESBee Experience A smoker at the Hive BoxBee Experience

I’m here to write about the ultimate chick, the coolest girl in the world. The Queen B.

No, not Beyonce. Unfortunately. I’m talking the real Queen B, the girl who started it all. Or should I say the girls who started it all, since there have been many Queen Bs and will be more to follow.

Being Queen B is no joke or easy job. You’ve got power to keep under control, a tough business to run, mouths to feed, a community of workers to keep happy, a scent and a dance to perfect as a way to communicate properly, and – for goodness sake – 2,000 eggs to lay per day. All the while she’s got to go through thousands and thousands of deaths every 4-6 weeks as her employees pass away and she out lives them for anywhere up to 5 years.

I signed up for the Bee Experience at Carmel Valley Ranch for the danger of it all. I like to live life on the edge, like most bad ass people out there. You’d know. But after speaking to the resident bee keeper, John Russo, trying some of his honey lavender lemonade, and putting on our astronaut suits we realized there wasn’t much to fear. John had a smoker, which helps calm the bees. Keeps them a bit loopy and lucid. Anyway, bees don’t  actually want to sting us as the die straight after. (lets all give a moment of silence to Thomas J. Sennet – played by Macaulay Kulkin in My Girl – and all the bees that passed that day.)  So, instead we got excited to learn more about the culture and life cycle of these honey bees.

It’s crazy to think that these guys live and die to work hard and make honey. I’m ashamed for taking even a drop of honey for granted. Well, I mostly feel for the female honey bees. We only spotted one male in the hive box we peaked into. John mentioned all the others male honey bees where on some glamorous island, sipping pink lemonade mojitos in speedos. Can’t blame them though, they had booked the trip before they knew we were coming.

I always knew how complex the bee world was, but I never knew details; like the job of “patrol”. No, not the guards who stay outside to make sure only the right people come in, that’s a different thing. These patrol girls are the ones that find the injured, old, or dying bee –  anyone who can no longer contribute – in the hive box and escort them out to die in the cold and alone.

I solute you, my dear honey bee, you have a tough gig.

The Bee Experience at Carmel Valley Ranch
 One old ranch road, Carmel, California 93923

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