Today's Hours
First Entry 9:00 am
Last Entry 4:15 pm
Donate Buy Tickets
Menu
Today's Hours
First Entry 9:00 am
Last Entry 4:15 pm

Your Beekeeping Questions, Answered

Your Beekeeping Questions, Answered

By Mario Padilla, Entomologist and Beekeeper at Butterfly Pavilion

We had so much fun on World Honey Bee Day at Butterfly Pavilion, Saturday, August 17, in celebration of the industrious honey bee! We received some awesome questions. If you are interested in becoming a beekeeper check out our Beekeeping Bootcamp.

How do bees make honey?

Honey, or liquid gold, is created by bees and is the only food made by insects that we eat! Worker bees visit flowers and gather nectar using their long, tube-shaped tongue. Nectar is stored in its crop (extra stomach). The nectar mixes with enzymes and undergoes a transformation, preserving it for long-term use. Honey bees then work together to deposit nectar in the honeycomb by passing it through another bee’s mouth! The honey is almost ready – the last step is to remove water from the now thick sugary liquid. Honey bees fan the honeycomb with their wings to speed up the process of evaporation. Honey bees seal the comb with beeswax – honey can be stored forever providing bees, and us, the perfect sugary food source.

Why do honey bees sting and how can I avoid being stung?

Honey bees sting when they feel threatened; they will only sting you if they have to! Usually, honey bees will die after they sting, so it is a very costly defense.  You can avoid being stung by respecting honey bees and not disturbing their hive.

I recently saw a swarm of honey bees gathered away from the hive. Why does that happen?

Swarming occurs when a queen leaves the hive to start a new colony and the worker bees follow. Swarming bees are very docile and will most likely not sting, unless they feel their life is at risk. It is a natural means of colony reproduction.

I heard that honey bees are in trouble. What’s going on?

Pollinator populations, from bees to butterflies, are in decline because of habitat destruction, chemical pollution, parasites, and pathogens. Humans can help with many of these issues! Try not to use pesticides on your lawn or in your garden, and plant a habitat garden with native flowering plants that help feed the bees.

I want to do my part to conserve honey bees. What are things I can do at home, other than beekeeping?

If beekeeping isn’t for you there are a lot of things you can do to help out honey bees and other pollinators! Take it from our Horticulture Director Amy, “The good news is that everyone, no matter where they live, can improve this situation for pollinators…If you want to create your own pollinator sanctuary, all you need is some close observation, a little planning and the right plants.” Learn how to Grow a Pollinator Sanctuary.

You can also get involved at Butterfly Pavilion through our Pollinator Awareness through Conservation and Education (PACE) program. PACE programs include habitat restoration projects, education programs for adults and children, citizen science opportunities, and more. Get involved in one of our citizen science projects today and help gather important data scientists can use to help save pollinators, like the honey bee.

How many species of honey bees are there in Colorado? Which species do you suggest keeping for a beginner beekeeper? Any helpful tips for first-time bee keepers?

There are 946 species of native bee in Colorado and one species of honey bee (Apis mellifera)!  Honey bees are actually native to Africa and Europe. Beekeeping is not easy, but the best thing you can do when you are just getting started is to get out there! You’ll need a few things to get started:

  • Nucleus or package colony to start
  • Food (Natural nectar and pollen sources)
  • Quality materials for your hive
  • Take a class and join a beekeeping club

Honey bees need three things to survive, water, pollen and nectar. The flowers the honey bee visits will determine the taste of the honey. Honey bees love dandelion, lavender, fennel, ox-eye daisy, snapdragon, teasel, rosemary, sunflower, yarrow, nasturtium and more! You can check out our What’s Blooming page for updates on what is blooming in our gardens that attract honey bees and native pollinators.

Timing is crucial – the best time to begin a hive is in the spring.

You can learn more at one of our Beekeeping Bootcamp classes or from the American Bee Journal.

Additional Resources
https://americanbeejournal.com/category/columns/beekeeping-basics/
https://www.abfnet.org/page/34

Blog

September 25, 2018
By Butterfly Pavilion

We Believe in the Power of Invertebrates

Read More
September 11, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

Monarch Magic takes Center Stage at Butterfly Pavilion, Sept. 16-29, 2019

Read More
August 30, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

Monarchs in Mexico – A Butterfly Pavilion Trip

Read More
August 20, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

Your Beekeeping Questions, Answered

Read More
August 13, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

Three Colorado Organizations – Teakoe, Local Hive™ and Butterfly Pavilion – Brew Up Plan to Protect Pollinators

Read More
July 31, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

The Best Defense is a Good Bee Fence

Read More
July 31, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

Bring Butterfly Pavilion to Your Classroom this Fall

Read More
July 31, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

Grow a Pollinator Sanctuary

Read More
July 31, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

Peacock Mantis Shrimp “Chuck Smashty” Arrives at Butterfly Pavilion for its big zoo debut on Saturday!

Read More
June 28, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

Follow Your Nose: A Fragrant Tour of Butterfly Pavilion’s Gardens

Read More
June 28, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

Teaching Toxic Terrors

Read More
June 28, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

You’re Invited to Rosie’s Birthday Bash!

Read More
June 20, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

Butterfly Pavilion Announces Pollinator District, a New Model for Conservation and Real Estate Development

Read More
June 19, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

Mosquito and Tick Season Survival Guide

Read More
May 31, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

Butterflies at Chatfield Farms: A joint venture between Butterfly Pavilion and Denver Botanic Gardens

Read More
May 31, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

Making an Impact for Oceans, Right Here in Colorado

Read More
May 31, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

How to Make Lasting Memories this Summer with the Whole Family

Read More
May 24, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

Butterfly Pavilion Celebrates Pollinator Week with a FREE Outdoor Movie Night, featuring Bee Movie, sponsored by Local Hive™ from Rice’s Honey®

Read More
May 23, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

How a Mistake Became an Opportunity

Read More
May 21, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

6 Unique Things to Do ONLY at Butterfly Pavilion

Read More
May 1, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

Grass Stains are the Goal at Butterfly Pavilion Camps

Read More
April 30, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

Pollen: Friend or Foe?

Read More
April 30, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

Take the Plunge, Become a Beekeeper!

Read More
April 25, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

Mommy to Be Rainforest Yoga

Read More
April 3, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

Celebrate National Volunteer Week with Butterfly Pavilion!

Read More
April 1, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

Crowdsourcing Science: How Everyday Citizens make large-scale Science Possible

Read More
March 29, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

Butterfly Pavilion: A Second Home for Homeschoolers

Read More
March 27, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

Butterfly Pavilion Receives $13 Million for its New Facility from Broomfield

Read More
March 4, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

Get to Know Your Neighbors in Butterfly Pavilion’s Newest Exhibit – Colorado Backyard

Read More
February 26, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

Get to Know Your Neighbors in Butterfly Pavilion’s Newest Interactive Exhibit

Read More
February 25, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

Meet Rosie without Leaving your School or Home!

Read More
February 25, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

The Colorado Hairstreak (Hypaurotis crysalus)

Read More
February 20, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

Colorado’s Butterfly Pavilion Weighs in on Insect Population Declines

Read More
February 20, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

A Response to Article: Why insect populations are plummeting – and why it matters

Read More
February 11, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

Butterflies and Birthdays

Read More
February 1, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

Monarchs: Are the Numbers Up or Down?

Read More
January 31, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

Butterfly Pavilion Welcomes New Butterfly & Moth Expert to its Ranks

Read More
January 31, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

An Inside Look at Butterfly Pavilion’s Education Department

Read More
January 31, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

Seniors Enrich Butterfly Pavilion through Innovative Employment Program

Read More
January 4, 2019
By Butterfly Pavilion

Meet Our Animal and Plant Scientists

Read More
December 4, 2018
By Butterfly Pavilion

Distance Learning: It’s for Everyone, Near & Far

Read More
December 3, 2018
By Butterfly Pavilion

Bee Fencing to Protect People and Elephants

Read More
December 3, 2018
By Butterfly Pavilion

A Cure for Winter Doldrums

Read More
November 28, 2018
By Butterfly Pavilion

12 Days of Invertebrates Animal Showcase (and Song!) Comes to Colorado’s Butterfly Pavilion This December

Read More
November 2, 2018
By Butterfly Pavilion

Colorado State University and Butterfly Pavilion Formalize Partnership

CSU and Butterfly Pavilion expand their support of interns and their research impact.
Read More
November 2, 2018
By Butterfly Pavilion

Inspiring Environmental Stewardship

We're inspiring the next generation of environmental stewards.
Read More
October 17, 2018
By Butterfly Pavilion

Statement on National Academy of Sciences Study Findings

Read More
October 16, 2018
By Butterfly Pavilion

Butterfly Pavilion on FOX31 Morning News

Visit Colorado's Invertebrate Zoo to see impressive toxic terrors.
Read More
October 4, 2018
By Butterfly Pavilion

Butterfly Pavilion in Mongolia: Parnassius Butterfly Conservation

Read More
October 2, 2018
By Butterfly Pavilion

Environmental Education: Making Magical Connections

Environmental Education: Making Magical Connections
Read More
September 28, 2018
By Butterfly Pavilion

Colorado’s Butterfly Pavilion Debuts Its New Look

Butterfly Pavilion Launches New Brand and Website
Read More
September 17, 2018
By Butterfly Pavilion

BUGTOBER Returns to Butterfly Pavilion Oct. 1-31, 2018 for a Month of Toxic Terror!

Join us....if you dare!
Read More
September 6, 2018
By Mary Ann Colley

The Business of “Bugs”: Leading Environmental Action for Sustainability

A Business of “Bugs”: Leading Environmental Action for Sustainability
Read More
September 4, 2018
By Mary Ann Colley

Protecting Spiders with the SWARM Program

We work to protect the species others overlook.
Read More
August 17, 2018
By Mary Ann Colley

Colorado Celebrates World Honey Bee Day at Butterfly Pavilion

Celebrate World Honey Bee Day at Butterfly Pavilion
Read More
August 3, 2018
By Mary Ann Colley

The Importance of Nature Play & Family Adventures

Nature is essential to our well-being as humans.
Read More
July 13, 2018
By Butterfly Pavilion

Summer Events in Full Bloom

Summer Events and Exhibits are in Full Bloom at Colorado's Butterfly Pavilion
Read More
July 2, 2018
By Mary Ann Colley

Dragonfly Research at High Altitude

Loving Dragonflies at High Altitude
Read More
July 2, 2018
By Mary Ann Colley

New Media. New Experiences.

It's incredible what a team can pull together with a little bit of passion.
Read More
June 20, 2018
By Butterfly Pavilion

Colorado’s Butterfly Pavilion And Denver’s Edible Beats Restaurant Group Announce New Beehive Partnership

We are proud to establish and manage a beehive in the Edible Beats Restaurant Group's urban garden. We are incredibly happy that honey from our bees, locally sourced will be served at some of Denver's best restaurants like, Root Down, Linger, Ophelia's, Vital Root and El Five.
Read More
June 4, 2018
By Mary Ann Colley

Monarchs & Magical Cities: A Journey to Mexico’s Monarch Sanctuaries

Monarchs & Magical Cities: A Journey to Mexico's Monarch Sanctuaries
Read More
May 25, 2018
By Butterfly Pavilion

Butterfly Pavilion Statement on Poisoned Bees

As a leader in pollinator conservation, Butterfly Pavilion has a responsibility as stewards of invertebrates and their habitats to find sustainable solutions to the pollinator crisis, through habitat restoration, research, and responsible conscientious pest management practices.
Read More
May 7, 2018
By Mary Ann Colley

Telling the Untold Story: The Value of Interpreting Invertebrates

The Value of Interpreting Invertebrates
Read More
May 7, 2018
By Mary Ann Colley

Beekeeping, Pollinator Awareness through Conservation and Education, and Rice’s Honey

Beekeeping, PACE, and Rice's Honey
Read More
April 17, 2018
By Butterfly Pavilion

Butterfly Pavilion Announces Naming Contest for Our New Octopus

Can you come up with the winning name for our Octoups Vulgaris, the common octopus?
Read More
April 5, 2018
By Mary Ann Colley

Saving Coastal Dunes, One Bug at a Time

Did you ever think bugs could save a beach? Well, they can!
Read More
March 23, 2018
By Butterfly Pavilion

New Survival Exhibit Opens at Butterfly Pavilion on March 24, 2018

Colorado’s only invertebrate zoo, will debut its newest interactive exhibit, Survival, beginning March 24, 2018.
Read More
March 22, 2018
By Mary Ann Colley

The Mystery of Colorado’s Butterfly Populations

“Where have all the butterflies gone?” is a common question I get when I tell people I study butterflies for a living.
Read More
March 6, 2018
By Butterfly Pavilion

World Spider Day Comes to Butterfly Pavilion March 17, 2018

World Spider Day Spins a Fascinating Web at Butterfly Pavilion on March 17, 2018
Read More
March 2, 2018
By Mary Ann Colley

The Value of Citizen Science

Picture a scientist. What is the person wearing? What are they doing? Do you they look anything like you?
Read More
February 1, 2018
By Mary Ann Colley

Entomophagy: Could Eating Insects Save the World?

Entomophagy is the technical term for eating insects...
Read More
February 1, 2018
By Mary Ann Colley

The Urban Prairies Project: Habitat Conservation and Community Wellness

Sometimes, conservation and habitat restoration wind up building community.
Read More
January 22, 2018
By Butterfly Pavilion

A Message from our President and CEO

Science and education can change the world.
Read More
January 22, 2018
By Butterfly Pavilion

Keeping PACE with Butterfly Pavilion’s Conservation Efforts

The Science and Conservation department at Butterfly Pavilion is excited to make important strides for pollinators.
Read More
January 22, 2018
By Butterfly Pavilion

Two Colorado Companies Join Forces to Promote Pollinator Awareness Worldwide

Rice’s® Honey to partner with Butterfly Pavilion’s PACE Initiative to inform consumers about the importance of pollination.
Read More
November 1, 2017
By Butterfly Pavilion

Butterfly Pavilion to participate in the Colorado Pollinator Summit at the Denver Botanic Gardens, Nov. 2, 2017

One of every three bites of food eaten worldwide depends on pollinators like bees, butterflies and beetles and without them, there would be no fruits, nuts, vegetables, oils or most flowers!
Read More
September 26, 2017
By Butterfly Pavilion

Butterfly Pavilion’s New Facility in Broomfield, Colo. to be the Global Hub for Invertebrate Research, Conservation and Education

New, $30M, 60,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art invertebrate zoo and research center will be the jewel of the global invertebrate community – inspiring a new way of connecting to environmental conservation.
Read More