• Greg Fullerton inspects a frame from one of the Glacier County Honey Company’s boxes. Photo by Jessica Lowry

    Dance of the Glacier County Honey bees

    The folks at Glacier County Honey, as you might imagine, know a lot about bees.

    Afterall, the bees make the business. Our feature on the up-and-coming business that is flourishing near the northern Montana town of Babb showed just how much knowledge it takes to keep happy bees that produce their sweet honey.

    The bees are transported from Montana to California and back again each year to ensure they’re happy.

    When it comes time to make honey, millions of bees buzz through fields in Babb  collecting pollen to bring back to the hives. In fact, when they find a good source, worker bees do a dance to show other workers where to find it.

    Read the full story in our Sept/Oct issue.

    In the meantime, here’s a little more about the Glacier  County Honey bees (including more about the dance of the honey bees) courtesy of owners Courtney and Greg Fullerton.

    What kind of bees do you keep at Glacier County Honey?

    Carniolan bees.

    What is the lifespan of a bee?

    Lifespan of a bee depends on the time of year – in summer, they’re working so hard some literally fly their wings off, and can expect to live about 3 weeks. But once the queen shuts down production in preparation for winter, they’ll live through the winter.

    How many bees help make Glacier County Honey? 

    In the summer months, about 90 million bees at any given time help make Glacier County (and Chief Mountain) honey.

    What is your favorite fact about bees that many people don’t know?

    Bees communicate with each other by dancing.

    There are lots of different types of dances, but our favorite is the Waggle Dance – when a worker bee finds a good nectar source, like a field of alfalfa, she comes back to the hive and does a dance, using the sun as a compass, and tells the other bees where to find this nectar. All worker bees are female. The males are really only around for mating purposes, they don’t even have a stinger, and when they become a burden to the hive – in the winter – the workers kick them out of the hive to die.

    Also, bees don’t gather honey, bees make honey. They bring nectar back to the hive in a special honey stomach (they also bring back pollen in “chaps” or pockets on their legs) and they add some special enzymes and fan the nectar down to make honey in the honeycomb that they build in their hive (they have wax secreting glands on their backs).

    Bees make honey to eat honey (that’s what they live on), but given the right amount of space and forage and weather, they’ll make more than they could ever need to survive, hence, the possibility of commercial beekeeping.

  • Survey says Montana home to 2 top national parks

    You probably saw this online poll making the social media rounds in the past couple weeks, asking people to vote for the nation’s best national park.

    Easy choice right?!? Well there are two easy choices for most Montanans…

    There was a good campaign and showing coming out of Montana, and our national parks earned the No. 2 (Glacier National Park) and No. 3 (Yellowstone National Park)spots.

    I think we can all agree it should’ve been a tie for first, with Glacier and Yellowstone at the top. But it was Maine’s Acadia National Park that took the No. 1 spot.

    Still, pretty good showing for MT. And in case this  makes you want to go and see the parks, we have a great suggestion on the best way to take in the scenery.

    Writer Ednor Therriault wrote a great feature in our July/August issue about the iconic red and yellow buses the operate inside Glacier and Yellowstone. It really is a fun story. And even if you’ve seen the parks, Ednor says you’re missing out if you haven’t seen them in a bus.

    Enjoy!

    - Jenna