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  • Writer's pictureKatja

La Bonita beehives

beehives at La Bonita

The honey on Hacienda La Bonita can be divided into three types with very distinct colours and flavour: 'multiflor' (from many types of flowers); 'flor de azahar' (from the orange blossom); 'eucalipto' (from the eucalyptus trees down by the river)

We have about 30-50 hives on the finca, depending on time of year and whether the beekeeper is moving them to other parts of the valley to get the nectar from flowering plants. They are transported at night when they are asleep. Our bees are vital to the pollination of the trees on the finca - without them there would be no fruit.

Honeybees use their tube-like tongues like straws to suck the nectar out of the flowers and store it their "honey stomachs". Bees actually have two stomachs, their honey stomach which they use like a nectar backpack and their regular stomach. The honey stomach holds almost 70 mg of nectar and when full, and weighs almost as much as the bee does. Bees must visit between 100 and 1500 flowers in order to fill their honey stomachs. Once filled, they return to the hive and pass the nectar onto other worker bees. These bees suck the nectar from the honeybee's stomach through their mouths. The "house bees" "chew" the nectar for about half an hour so that enzymes can break the complex sugars in the nectar into simple sugars so that it is both more digestible for the bees and less likely to be attacked by bacteria while it is stored within the hive. The bees then spread the nectar throughout the honeycombs where water evaporates from it, making it a thicker syrup. The bees make the nectar dry even faster by fanning it with their wings. Once the honey is gooey enough, the bees seal off the cell of the honeycomb with a plug of wax. The honey is stored until it is eaten by them or us.

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