Bees amongst the Vines

Bees are fascinating creatures that live in highly organised communities. This month, 32 colonies can call Domaine Mirabeau their new home. Our beekeeper, Philipp Prior, and his wife installed the colourful hives. It’s the perfect time of year, as the first warm days arrive and everything starts to bloom.

There are three main types of bee in a hive: the queen, worker bees, and drones. 

The queen is the largest bee in the hive and is responsible for laying eggs. She produces chemicals called pheromones that help regulate the behaviour of other bees in the hive.

Worker bees are the most numerous in the hive and are responsible for all the tasks necessary to keep the colony running. These all-female bees build and maintain the hive, gather nectar and pollen, feed the young bees, and protect the hive from predators. They are also responsible for regulating the temperature and humidity of the hive.

Drones are all male, and their only job is to mate with the queen. They do not have stingers and are not able to gather food or defend the hive. Once they have mated with the queen, they die soon after.

Worker bees typically live only for about six weeks during the spring and summer, while drones live for a few months. The queen bee can live for up to five years. In the winter, the bees form a cluster in the hive to stay warm and conserve energy. During this time, the queen stops laying eggs and the colony becomes dormant until the weather warms up again in the spring.

One of the most fascinating ways that bees communicate is through a dance called the ‘waggle dance’. This dance is used by worker bees to tell other bees in the colony about the location of a food source.

So, what are the roles of the bees in our vineyard? Their biggest role here at Mirabeau is maintaining and increasing the biodiversity on our vineyard. By pollinating a wide variety of plants, they help to support other wildlife and contribute to a more sustainable and healthy ecosystem. 

Bees also increase the pollination of the grapevines, which helps to increase the yield of grapes and, consequently, the production.

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