(This arti­cle may or may not con­tain affil­i­ate links. What does that mean?)

This Thanks­giv­ing, we took a turkey break and went in search of bees. Rather, we had heard about a bee tour we could take at the West­in Mis­sion Hills Golf Resort & Spa (which, by the way, looks to be a very fam­i­ly friend­ly resort, we dis­cov­ered, when we had lunch there after our tour). The resort was kind enough to host us so we could expe­ri­ence this unfor­get­table tour for ourselves.

At the begin­ning of the tour, all I knew about bees was they seem to be dying and there are fears that if we lose the bees, our food sup­ply will cease to exist. At least that’s the inter­net hype. When I looked it up, the con­sen­sus was mixed as there are oth­er ani­mals and nat­ur­al phe­nom­e­non (hum­ming­birds, birds, ani­mals, wind) that also spread the pollen that helps pro­duce healthy har­vests. But we learned so much more from our gra­cious host, Exec­u­tive Chef Joel Del­mond, whose pas­sion for bees we felt through his every enthu­si­as­tic word, con­cern for the health of the hives and the trans­mis­sion of bee hive infor­ma­tion suit­able for all ages, espe­cial­ly the youngers.

We learned that the hive is divid­ed by the labor the bees will be assigned for the dura­tion of their lives (I might have sor­ta known that one too). The nurs­ing bees deter­mine what jobs the bees ges­tat­ing in the lar­vae will per­form before their birth. There is only one queen bee and her job is to fer­til­ize eggs. She aver­ages about 3000 bees per lit­ter! But what I did­n’t know is she could be fired and replaced. If she’s doing a bad job or set­ting a bad tone to the hive, she could be kicked to the curb when the nurs­ing bees make a new queen. The males are drone bees and their only job is to impreg­nate the queen. Then they die. That’s it. Bye bye. They’re inca­pable to doing any­thing else. A few jokes come to mind, that will stay there.

It’s the women who do all the work to keep the hive oper­at­ing. Hmm­mm. They go out and for­age for food and pol­li­nate in the mean­time. They build stuff in the hive and keep it metic­u­lous­ly clean. They guard the hive from intrud­ers and encap­su­late them in propo­lis (wax) when they make it in any­way. They care for the queen by groom­ing and feed­ing her. Their work is lit­er­al­ly nev­er done.

Below, Chef Joel explained all this and more while we got up close and per­son­al with our buzzy new friends. If you take this tour, you’ll nev­er look at bees the same way. The tour is nev­er the same twice. Every­thing depends on what the vis­i­tors want to know and how the bees are feel­ing. In our case, they weren’t feel­ing chip­per the day we vis­it­ed. The one thing that is con­sis­tent though, is Chef Joel’s love for the sweet creatures.


The idea for this trip orig­i­nal­ly came from this arti­cle.