Flora and Fauna
The Honeybee Nest at Deerfield Island Park


Deerfield Island Park is home to a large honeybee nest located in the hollow of a tree along the Pineland Trail. It is not a hive. (a hive is a man-made structure to house a honeybee nest). Honeybees are a native species and accomplish 80% of the pollination of fruits and seed crops in the U.S. A nest is made of multiple parallel honeycombs and can be home to 50,000 bees in an average healthy nest. The honeycombs are a series of hexagonal cells made of beeswax by worker bees. They hold food storage, house the worker bees, drones and the queen bee. Our nest is fairly high in the tree and the bees are not very aggressive.
There are 3 types of bees in the nest:
  Queen: One queen runs the whole hive. Her job is to lay the eggs that will spawn the hive’s next generation of bees. The queen also produces chemicals that guide the behavior of the other bees.
   Workers: these are all female and their roles are to forage for food (pollen and nectar from flowers), build and protect the hive, clean and circulate air by beating their wings. Workers are the only bees most people ever see flying around outside the hive.
   Drones: These are the male bees, and their purpose is to mate with the new queen. Several hundred live in each hive during the spring and summer. But come winter, when the hive goes into survival mode, the drones are kicked out!
Sadly, over the past 15 years, colonies of bees have been disappearing, and the reason remains unknown. Referred to as ‘colony collapse disorder’, billions of Honey bees across the world are leaving their hives, never to return. In some regions, up to 90% of bees have disappeared!
UPDATE: 5/2019  The honeybee colony on our island has left the nest. All that remains are some honeycombs. We are sad to see them go and we hope we they have found some succeesful "new digs" .