The Zoo is filled with fascinating, hard-to-miss animal habitats: the bear exhibits with their rocky walkways; Lake Evinrude with its lush banks; and Otter Passage with its slippery slopes. But one animal home is easily overlooked. On the south side of Lake Evinrude, inside a white, wooden box, is a beehive and a colony of honey bees. The hive is maintained by the beekeeping committee, a group comprised of Milwaukee County Zoo and Zoological Society staff.
This white box, known as a Langstroth hive, is unassuming at first glance, but there’s much more than meets the eye. A peek inside the hive would reveal a row of vertical frames covered in hexagonal honeycomb, golden honey and more than 20,000 bees! Bees create honey by collecting nectar from flowers, chewing it up to change its chemical composition, spreading it over honeycomb, batting their wings to dry it out and finally capping the honeycomb with beeswax to keep it fresh. Bees eat honey, and the honey they produce sustains the colony throughout winter.