Sit back and relax: Chive bees

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YORK COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — A stand of chive plants has bees out in force, gathering pollen for their hives.

The bees concentrate on the task before them and completely ignore the photographer.

The chive plants the bees are tapping are Allium tuberosum, known popularly as garlic chives, Oriental garlic, Asian chives, Chinese chives or Chinese leek. The plant is native to China (Shanxi Province, if you want to get really specific), but is now cultivated around the world.

We have been unable to find any information on how garlic chive honey tastes, and we’re not going to try to find and raid a beehive to find out.

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Worker bees are all sterile females, in service to the queen, who can live for several years, and lay as many as 1,500 eggs a day. The workers provide nourishment to immature bees and stockpile honey for the winter. Their average lifespan in summer is about five to six weeks-many of them literally work themselves to death.

Male bees-drones are around just to fertilize queens. At some point, they will leave their original hive and, if they’re lucky, find a new hive and new queen. They do nothing to help the worker bees; the worker bees take care of them. Then, when the weather turns cold and the hive has to rely on its store of honey to survive, the drones get kicked out.

Without bees, agriculture as we know it would not be possible. As they fly about from flower to flower, they pollinate about eighty percent of the fruit, vegetable, and seed crops in the United States-including, of course, chives.

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