Bees create quite the buzz at North Aurora library
On June 22, bees were the business at Messenger Public Library in North Aurora.
With words, slides, video clips and honey samples for tasting, Bartlett apiarist Reid Root presented "A Year in the Life of a Beekeeper." The beekeeper said, "This is my hobby gone extracurricular."
Root, who has been producing honey for 24 years, got into the business at age 15 at the invitation from a friend.
According to Root, his bees produced 1,200 pounds of honey last year from hives in Batavia and South Elgin. Ream's Meat Market in Elburn carries his products.
The beekeeper displayed a half-dozen varieties of liquid honey, including "chunky" honey, and offered samples of strawberry-flavored whipped honey for tasting.
Contrary to popular belief, Root said, honeybees are not usually aggressive, unlike hornets and wasps.
A member of Fox Valley Beekeepers Association, he said group members helped the Illinois State Beekeepers Association take top honors in a honey competition at the 2018 Illinois State Fair in Springfield.
Local beekeepers will participate in the August 2019 state fair by volunteering at a honey ice cream booth, talking to visitors about beekeeping and showing a live observation colony.
Root said honey is made in seven steps:
• Bees gather nectar;
• Enzymes are added in bees' stomachs;
• Liquid is regurgitated into another bee's mouth;
• Bees deposit liquid nectar into the comb;
• Bees fan liquid nectar with their wings to maintain a constant temperature;
• Nectar evaporates into honey;
• Bees seal honey in a comb with wax.
Root offered "fascinating facts" about beekeeping:
• A hive of bees must fly 55,000 miles to produce a pound of honey.
• Bees visit 2,000,000 flowers to produce a pound of honey.
• An average worker bee produces about a half teaspoon of honey in its lifetime.
• Bees are the only insects that produce food for humans.
• One bee colony can produce 60 to 100 pounds of honey annually.
• One out of three mouthfuls of food consumed by humans is produced by bee pollination.
• Honey was included in the tombs of Egyptian kings.
• Unprocessed honey's health benefits include cough medicine, allergy relief and a digestion aid.
• Nearly a third of U.S. honeybee colonies have vanished since 2006. Colony collapse disorders include pesticides, habitat loss, parasites and climate change.
More information is available from Root at (847) 812-8927 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.