The Flight of the Drone

Here’s a riddle for you:

I have no father, and only one grandfather.

If I have any children, they will all be girls,

but my grandchildren can be boys or girls.

Who am I?

Answer: I’m a boy bee, also known as a drone bee.

 

A female bee is made when a queen egg that has been fertilized with drone sperm is allowed to develop into a bee. This bee is almost always a worker bees, though rarely, a new queen can develop. Female bees have 32 chromosomes, 16 from mother and 16 from the father.

 

An egg laid by either 1) a drone laying worker or 2) an unfertilized queen will produce a drone bee. Because drones bees don’t have a father, they have only 16 chromosomes, and they are all from their mother. This makes them haploid.

 

Drones look different from queens and workers. They have big eyes, big blunt bodies, no stinger, and are somewhere between queen and worker in size. They are friendly and docile, and cannot sting.

Each type of bee have their own jobs. Queens are in charge and lay eggs that will become future workers; there is only one in a hive. Workers work at all the tasks that needs done in the hive and there are tens of thousands of them in a hive. The workers cover the cleaning and child care, to guarding the hive and foraging, they do it all. Except for the one thing they can’t do,they can’t have sex with the queen to fertilize her eggs. That’s what the drones are for. There are hundreds to thousands of them in a hive. They make up about 5% of the hive population during foraging season a their main job is to fertilize queen eggs.

Lots of people will tell you that all drones do is eat, sleep, sit around, and have sex. Some of you are shaking your heads, thinking Just like every other man. But is that really? Or are we humanizing the drones? Or minimizing their contributions? It turns out that the lives of drone bees are not as idyllic and lazy as many people assume.  But then, life rarely is as it appears.

 

The life of a drone goes something like this:

 

The first 3 days are spent as an egg, then the next 6 ½ days are spent as a larva, and finally 14 ½  are spent as a pupa. At the 24 day mark, the drone is now an adult. Newly emerging adult drone bees send their first 3-4 days begging food from nurse bees. While it is true that drone bees will continue to eat the nectar and pollen brought in by worker bees for the rest of their short lives, they also help the worker bees in the hive maintain a desirable incubation temperature for developing and emerging bees, and they are better at it than the worker bees..

At 14 days of adulthood another job is added. The drones become sexually mature and begin leaving the hive during the day to spend time in drone congregation areas. Drone congregation areas (DCA’s) are areas where drone bees gather. When a drone leaves the hive, it will visit these areas, sometimes several of them in a day. These areas are 100 – 650 feet in diameter, and 50-130 feet above the ground. Often, these areas are used year after year, though why that is is unknown. (This is truly amazing when you realize that drone bees do not live through the winter, so how do they know where to go?) While drones have been shown to travel as far as 4 ½  miles to reach a DCA, drones prefer DCA’s close to their hive. DCA’s usually have hundreds to several thousand drones visiting at a time, and the drones come from as many as a thousand hives. It is only in these DCA’s that drone bees pursue queen bees. So far, it all sounds like a pretty cushy life, but this is where it starts to suddenly get a bit darker for many drone bees.

 

When a queen is fully developed and fertile, she will leave her hive on her nuptial or wedding flight, and makes her way to a DCA. While in the DCA, only the healthiest, fastest, and brightest drones will be able to catch her to mate.This means that only the best drones will be able to pass on their genetic material. The queen will mate with roughly 10-20 of the drones on one of her mating flight while it is said they only have one flight queens have been known to make up to three mating flights to gather enough semen. The semen collected will fertilize all the fertile eggs she will ever lay in her lifetime.

 

Now here’s for the really dark part for the drone bees. During the act of mating, their genitals are ripped from their bodies, killing them. For the next male to mate, it will have to remove the genitals of the previous male that mated with the queen.

 

And if that isn’t bad enough, when resources run low the drone bees are forced from the hive, and their developing bodies are pulled from the cells they are in and pushed from the hive. It usually happens at the end of summer, or the end of fall at the latest. This makes the drone lifespan the shortest of the three classes of bees.

Drones and drone brood kicked from the hive.

In case you are wondering, The queen lives for 3-4 years on average. Worker bees vary at  1 ½ – 2 months in the spring, summer and early fall and 4-5 months if born in the late fall. Drones lives much shorter adult lives at  2wks to 4 months, with 2 months being the average.

 

So, in the end, the drone really has a kind of sad and short life that one can’t really shake a stick at. His part to play if rather crucial but in time of urgency, he will become a needed sacrifice for the greater good of the hive. We are sure that many men don’t envy that idea and we don’t think anyone else really should either. Yet, this is what is means to survive as a bee and we are sure that these incredible organisms to cherish every bit each member of the hive has to offer. What are your thoughts? Don’t you think it would be kind of scary if we lived like bees? Share your thoughts and whatnot with us either here in the comment section, on our facebook page, or on instagram with #MoreBees.

 

Goodwill Toward Trees (and Bees)

The 27th of this month will mark the passing of a day that is often ignored,

National Arbor day.

 

You’ve likely heard of it when you were a kid in grade school. They probably told you that trees were important. You probably did a craft project. You may have even helped plant a tree at your school.

Odds are, many of you haven’t given Arbor Day much thought since then.  So, I’m really glad you’re taking a look at this post.

 

For those of you who don’t remember, Arbor Day is a day to reflect, and act…by considering the importance of trees, and by planting them. Arbor Day in America has its roots in 1872 Nebraska, where a million trees were planted in the largely treeless prairie state in a single day, April 10th. The founder of Arbor Day was Julius Sterling Morton, a Nebraska newspaper editor. It was globalized largely through the efforts of a Connecticut man named Birdsey Northrop, and the newly formed American Forestry Association. Today, Arbor Day is celebrated in many countries around the world. The name varies, but the ideas are the same and, the actual date of celebration varies, just as the climates and growing seasons varies in each country. Click on this link to see when and how other countries celebrate.

So why are trees so important? It’s more than just because of their aesthetic value. They also pack a very big environmental punch. From acting as carbon sinks and producing oxygen, providing habitat, and stabilizing land, to moderating ground temperature, and storing water, trees are immensely important to the world as we know it. They can even be more than that. they can, and do provide, building materials, fuel, food, and even medicines and with proper management, they can do so indefinitely.

We’ll be planting a Bee Bee tree in our yard this year for Arbor Day. We ordered it from Bowman Farm and Nursery out of Hillsboro, OR. Do you plan on celebrating Arbor Day this year by planting a tree in your yard? Or will you participate in an organized celebration &/or tree planting through your town, scouting troop, or gardening club? Many cities and organizations sponsor Arbor Day activities. The City of Portland has a fabulous Arbor Day celebration scheduled for April 21st. It will be held in Mt. Scott Park from 10am-3pm. Check out this link for more information.

 

The bees will absolutely love the Bee Bee tree. It will feed lots of them, and they will in turn help feed the world. Some people probably think that one tree, cut down or planted, will make little difference in this world, but each tree matters. Taken together, they mark the movement towards a world that is a little better or a little worse, depending on which is greater, the rate of cutting or the rate of planting. The benefits and resources they will provide can either be plentiful or scarce, so we definitely need to be weary of what we do with this wonderful gift of nature. So plant a tree for a better life and a better future for yourself, your family, your world.

 

Additional stuff:

 

Would you like to receive 10 free trees to plant in your yard? By signing up with the National Arbor Day Foundation, you can receive 10 free trees. They even offer different options for the type of trees.  10 Free trees from Arbor Day Foundation

 

Time article on the history of Arbor Day in America

Bee Inked

Bold and black, delicate and lacy, or vividly colorful, we are seeing more and more bee tattoos gracing the bodies of our customers. As a matter of fact, a few weeks ago at the Portland Women’s Expo, we saw some of our favorite bee tattoos to date. We really liked the play of color in these designs.

They look really cool!

 

But why would people put bees on their skin? The reasons vary from person to person. They’re the same reason anybody would get any tattoo. Here are some of the reasons a person might get a bee tattoo:

To show love of the bees (or nature, or the environment);

To show awareness or concern for the plight of the bees;

To make other people aware of issues facing the bees;

To show support for a cause;

To commemorate a person, event, or milestone;

Because the design (and not necessarily the bee itself) resonates with them;

Or even just on a whim.

Once you have the tattoo, make sure to follow the aftercare advice your tattoo artist gives to you. Not only did you put down a chunk of money for that tattoo, you had what amounts to a medical procedure performed on your body. Proper care will ensure that your tattoo heals well, and looks great. Check out this LINK for what to expect as a tattoo heals. If your tattoo artist didn’t give aftercare, look at the previous link, and then read this one. Both give some good generalized care instructions.

Remember that taking proper care of of your tattoo doesn’t end after a week or two. Proper care beyond the initial healing phase will ensure vibrancy and crispness of the ink for a lifetime. So, what’s the best way to keep your tattoos moisturized and bright? We’ve been told by many of our customers that our solid lotions are perfect for this. The oils in our lotions were picked to soak in quickly and nourish the skin, while not clogging the pores. The beeswax helps protect the skin. Together, the ingredients in our solid lotions keep the skin soft and supple.

Regardless of the product you pick, keep three things in mind.  Make sure it has little or no petroleum jelly. Because products with a high content of petroleum jelly doesn’t allow the skin to breath, it will be more difficult for cell repair and renewal to occur, can lead to clogged pores, and can trap bacteria and moisture against your skin. Routine use can even lead to an increase in the breakdown of collagen, which increases wrinkling. Petroleum jelly goes by more than one name. Look for labels with Petrolatum, petroleum jelly, mineral jelly, paraffin jelly and soft paraffin, and steer clear of products with these for everyday regular use, especially if you have damaged or broken skin, or are prone to blemishes.

This leads us to the second thing to keep in mind. Make sure the product you choose is non pore clogging (non-comedogenic) so that oils, dirt, dead skin cells, and bacteria do not become trapped in your pores. This can lead to blemishes, dull looking skin (and tattoos), and increase the chance of infection in healing wounds (like tattoos). Finally, make sure the product you choose does not contain artificial scents or colorants. These chemicals can irritate your skin especially if it is healing, and they can potentially alter the ink colors of your tattoo or stain your skin.

 

Instead, look for more natural products with non-comedogenic ingredients that are easily absorbed, like coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, and almond oil, as well as beeswax and shea butter. And again, look for lotions that are free from artificial scents and colorants, especially if your skin is healing, or is prone to irritation.

 

Have you seen an amazing bee tattoo? Or do you sport one yourself? Send us a picture, we’d love to see. So feel free to share with us here, post it to our facebook, or even tag us on instagram!

Thank the Bees for Pysanky

When I was a small child, my class went to visit a museum devoted to many different cultures. It was made up of a cluster of small cottages, with each dedicated to a different culture; such as Denmark, China, and Hungary. Yet, the House of Ukraine stuck out to me the most when I looked upon a basket of ornate and fantastically decorated eggs on display. I was so ecstatic about these pretty little eggs throughout the rest of the day and until we all went home. I remember when I tried to tell my mom about these eggs with unique lines and brilliant colors that my younger self couldn’t properly explain, and there was no computer to look up proof of these Easter wonders as the internet did not exist – it was the early 1970’s. So, that fantastical image of the decorated eggs sat in the back of my mind for years and years, until one day when I was home from college.

It was spring break; as I recall, I had left college and returned home to visit my family. My high school friends came over to hang out and ended up taking me to some sort of bazaar or fair that I can’t quite recall the name or proper title of. Several booths of artisans, crafters, and self established little businesses filled the gym of this local college where I encountered a wonderful ghost from my past. This lady there was decorating eggs, just like the  ones from when I was a kid.I was so happy to see them took it upon myself to learn of these neat little wonders. One of the coolest things I remember she was using beeswax to write designs on an egg. “It has to be beeswax. No other wax will work.” She told those of us watching. What I know now is that other waxes paraffin or soy do not have the properties that beeswax has and they won’t seal the egg or come off the egg cleanly at the end. Beeswax has very unique properties that are gentle enough to not harm the egg shell.

My bored friends drug me away before I could learn more. It was the late 1980’s and information still was’t at your fingertips like it is now. When I went back to school, I was so busy with classes and work, that I quickly forgot about the eggs again.

Later on in life, I popped into the bookstore, looking for a recommended title on parenting, and saw a book on decorated eggs. From the sublimely simple to the gloriously intricate, the book was dedicated to Eastern European egg art. Ukrainian pysanky, Polish pisanki, Croatian pisanici, Sorbian pisaci. The book called to me, but my time and funds were limited, so I put it back, and got the book I had come looking for. With three small children and a full time job there was not time for such a luxury. I was so busy keeping up with day to day life, and my thoughts of eggs were put aside again.

Since then, computers have brought the world to our fingertips. I’ve learned that most countries in Eastern and Central Europe have egg decorating traditions, and these traditions have a few things in common. The eggs are prized possessions, and often given as gifts, meant to bring luck or protection to the owner. Many of the motifs, patterns, and colors have traditional meanings; such as green meaning spring, hope, and growth and purple meaning fasting, faith, patience, and trust., ect. Many of the cultures that make the Pysanky eggs happen to keep similar traditions. The craft is passed from one generation to the next, with many families having their own recognizable style. Almost all of them are made using a wax-resist method, and all of the wax-resist methods rely upon beeswax.

Beeswax is necessary for the wax-resist methods because it adheres well to to egg shells; doesn’t crack, rub, or scrape off; and fills in even the fine pores of the egg shell. Other waxes either don’t stick well or don’t fill the pores of the eggshell. This means that only beeswax keeps the colored dyes used in the wax-resist method exactly where you want them to be. Only beeswax can give fine crisp lines and; when done, the beeswax melts off, without causing discoloration to the egg.

The kids are much older now, but life isn’t any simpler. Now, we keep bees and make and sell beeswax and honey body products. There still isn’t much spare time. But I do get to make my own colorful creations using beeswax. They are not eggs they are our soaps and without it, our products just wouldn’t be the same.

Neither would the decorated eggs of Central and Eastern Europe.

 

So, You Wanna Be A Beekeeper?

Every market season, all the way into the fall, people tell us how they are going to get bees.  Many think that they can just go out at any time and buy some. Many people don’t realize that by the time they see us in the markets, it may just be too late to get bees for the year. You see; most of the sales of bees occur in spring, and orders often have to be made in March or April. So, by the time you see us in a farmers’ market in June or July, it’s likely too late for you to go buy bees for the year. So, if you are going to have bees this year, now is the time to get the ball rolling

 

What should you do and when should you do it? Before anything; you should get your money together to start keeping bees can cost as little as $400 and up to $2000 depending on what equipment you get.

 

First, you need to see what your local laws and regulations, zoning codes, and CC&R’s have to say about it. Bees may or may not be in your future.So take a few moments to find out if you are allowed to own bees where you live, and if there are any restrictions

For example, most Oregon cities in the Portland Metro have regulations covering the owning of bees, Clark county doesn’t.

 

Second, get online and see when bees will be available for your area, and when orders can be placed. Keep in mind that demand outpaces availability in some area, and make your order as soon as you are sure you are ready. Ready means you have figured out what you want, and you have bought and set up a hive so it is ready to house the bees (or will be buying an assembled hive with your bees). See links below for some suppliers.

 

Before ordering your bees, jump online, go to the library, or go to a bee supply store, and research, research, research. Find a mentor and check out local resources: clubs, associations, and the likes. Because there are lots of things to consider when making your choices.

What will be your main goal in keeping bees? Providing local pollinators, creating survivor stock, or harvesting honey? Each goal can affect the type of bees you buy and the type of hive you house them in.

 

What kind of bees should you buy? Russian, Italian, or Carniolan? What is the difference between each type? What are their pros and cons? Which is best suited to your goals? And what is the availability of each? All of these questions should be considered when making your choice. Here’s a great discussion about bee types that covers some of these questions.

 

How should you get your bees? Should you order a package, which is a wire mesh box full of bees with a mated queen included, but no frames? The packages are sold by the pound usually, and a pound of bees is usually between 3,000 – 4,000 bees or should you buy a nuc (nucleus colony), which is a mini hive (usually 3-5 frames of drawn wax with honey, worker bees, and a mated queen bee). So which is better? Nucs cost a bit more, but because they contain frames of drawn wax, they are ready to go. Package bees need to expend time and resources to draw out wax but the bees will feel like they are a swarm and will draw out wax more quickly then the queen can start laying eggs bees can start storing honey and pollen. Because of this, it can take a little longer for a package to take off, and you will likely have to supplement feed a package if it is early in the season, and there aren’t sufficient resources available yet in terms of open flowers in your area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, consider What kind of hive you should get. Where will you get it? How much will it cost? Will you buy it pre-assembled, will you buy one you need to assemble yourself, or will you look up plans and make your own? You might even decide to buy a kit that includes a basic hive along with some tools &/or bees. This article has a nice discussion of the three main types of hives you are likely to encounter: the Langstroth, the Warre, and the Top-Bar Hive.

Langsworth
Warre
Top-bar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you go with Langswroth you will need to pick if you are going with 10 frame or 8 frame. I recommenced you go with 8 frame,  a box full of honey can weigh a lot and the two extra frames push the weight further from your body pulling on your more. It is what commercial beekeepers use and it is lighter than the 10 frame boxes. The other choice is to deeps or mediums boxes for you hives. I suggest mediums because they are lighter, a box full of honey can weigh a lot and the the shorter boxes will cut the weight down. An eight frame medium box full of honey will weigh about ½ what a 10 frame deep box will weight.

 

You also need some basic tools, A hive tool, frame grip, smoker (something you should try to use infrequently), Vail, protective clothing, marking tools, queen catcher, feeders, and queen excluders. There is a big list of options for the beekeeper..

 

What to do if you miss this year’s bee boat? You make sure you have thoroughly considered all the questions above, and you get everything ready for early next spring to place your order. Continue to educate yourself. Cultivate your new friendship with mentor(s), neighbors with bees, and local bee club and association members. Take a class or see if you can spend time this spring, summer, and fall shadowing a few established beekeeper, to learn the ropes.

 

By the way, that last paragraph applies to those of you who have already gotten bees. Further your knowledge. Help others further theirs. Remember, knowledge is power. And if the bees are going to flourish under our hands, we need to educate ourselves.

Here are some links to explore.

Examples of regulations covering the ownership of bees. This is not an exhaustive list. Please look for laws for your specific housing community (if it has CC&R’s), city, county, and state.

City of Portland, Oregon

Hillsboro, Oregon

State of Oregon – Oregon Bee Law

Clark County, WA

 

Local places to buy bees and bee supplies:

Ruhl Bee/Brushy Mountain Bee Supply

TSC

 

Local bee resources:

Beeline (Portland Area)

Clark County Beekeepers Association

WSU Extension

Seattle/Puget Sound

 

Been There, Done That- Portlanders, Why Not Liven Up Your St. Paddy’s Day?

Parades, festivals, corned beef and cabbage, green beer, pinches for those who don’t wear green, and don’t for get the parties. These can all be great fun!

But what if you feel like ‘Been there, done all that.’

Are you tired of the Same old, same old on St. Paddy’s Day?

 

How about something new this year.

 

Imagine a place where you can go that has fun and excitement all day long on St. Paddy’s day.  We’re talking samples galore, including food and drink, ‘How to’ demos, activities that you can participate in, lots of goodies that you can peruse, and take home with you- if the fancy strikes you. There will even be St. Paddy’s Day prizes.

 

What am I talking about, you ask?

 

Why; it’s The Woman’s Expo -right here in Portland- at the Oregon Convention Center, Saturday, March 17th – AKA St. Patrick’s Day.

Don’t let the name fool you- it’s isn’t just for those of the female persuasion. Fun can be had here by everyone -even kids! So, why not try something new? We’re going to; maybe we’ll see you there.

 

Still not sure? Check out their Facebook page, Groupon page, and website for more info. If you were wondering, The Woman’s Expo is one of two yearly fundraisers for The Portland Women’s Resource Initiative, which is an Oregon 501C3 organization.

 

Oh!  And before I forget – Mentioning this blog post at our booth will get you a free gift.

So; throw on some green this Saturday, and come check out the Woman’s Expo!

The Nose Knows

Who’s heard of patchouli? If you lived through the 60’s and 70’s, you probably recognize the smell of patchouli, even if you aren’t sure what it’s called. That’s because many Hippies were very liberal in the use of patchouli oil. Some people say that the Hippies liked it because patchouli covered the scent of body odor. Others said it was so popular because it covered the scent of weed. Either way, they used lots of it.And its use seems to be making a resurgence, not just with Hippies, but with people from a large cross-section of society.

By now, if you’ve never smelled it, you are probably wondering just what patchouli smells like.  To me, it has a very noticeable, pungent, loamy smell. But, that may not be how it smell to you. I say this, because in selling our body products over the last several years, we have noticed that some people really like the smell of patchouli. Others absolutely despise it. And believe it or not, there is even a small percentage of people who say they really can’t smell it at all.

 

How can that be? Why do some people like some smells, while others don’t? Turns out there are some really good, scientific reasons.

The first reason has to do with genetics. There are about 400 genes for olfactory receptors in the human nose. The genes vary from person to person. With 400 genes, there are about 900,000 different combinations of genes a person can have for their scent receptors. different combination of genes ‘smells’ a scent differently. That means that there are many different smells for each and every scent. The smell you experience when you smell a rose is different then the smell the next person experiences when sniffing the exact same rose. Some people have a pleasant experience when they sniff the rose, but some find the scent offensive.

The second reason has to do with our brains and how they are wired to receive sensory information. Smell information is the only sensory information transmitted to the hippocampus and amygdala, in the brain’s limbic system. The limbic system is associated with emotions and memory, which in turn, influences how we react to the scent. The first time you smell a particular smell, the memory of the scent gets intertwined with emotions and memories of behavior and feelings of nostalgia. Because these neural connections are formed at the same time, they are intertwined.This makes scent the most powerful sense for triggering emotions and memories, and evoking feelings of nostalgia, or even deja vu.

 

I know about that first hand. I can remember being a kid in Billings, Montana. The neighbor down the street had a lilac bush that was as big as the side of their house. During the summer, whenever it was breezy, you could smell that lilac bush for blocks.

 

Now, 40 years later, whenever I smell lilacs, I get a contented, carefree feeling, just like I did when I was a kid, playing with my friends.

What about you? Do you smell things differently than your friends and family? Why not give it a try and see if you have any unique little quirks to your smell registry? Then; if you learned something cool, share it with us either here on the website, on facebook, or even instagram with #MoreBees. We would love to hear about it either way you all want to share it.

Seize the Magic

Depending on whether you go by the  meteorological definition or astronomical definition, you have anywhere from one week to three weeks, but either way, the official end to winter is in sight.  Right now, you’re probably sick of it if you live in an area still in the grips of winter. But in a few month, you may just miss it. So, take some time over the next week or two to get all those winter activities out of your system.

And no, I’m not talking about shoveling the driveway.  

 

I’m not even talking about the big, fun stuff. Things like skiing up on Mt Hood, which can actually be done well into the spring most years. (Downhill skiing goes into April or even May, and cross country goes into March). Even tubing/sledding can be done on Mount Hood well into March or April. Then there is ice skating, which can be done at several area rinks year around. These are fun, but they’re not the things I’m talking about.

 

I’m talking about the fun stuff you do at home, or in your neighborhood. The fun stuff that takes very little money to enjoy. What that fun stuff is, depends on who you are. It’s different for different people, but most of us have things we love to do that they can only be done in the winter. Like making a snowman, having a snowball fight, or building a snow fort with your kids or friends. And, yes, adults CAN do these things. We’re ALLOWED to, and they’re FUN.

Yet, there are more subtle things you could miss like an invigorating walk amidst the cool air and crisp snow. Perhaps even a stroll through the hushed falling snow, the soft sound enveloping you as the world around you seems frozen and peaceful.  Maybe looking out a window or staring up from a the field of snow around you to enjoying the bright yet  delicate blue that can only be found in a clear winter sky.

One of our favorites is taking outdoor winter pictures. Snow and ice can turn even the most mundane things magical. They can transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. And with smart phones, we can all take part in this activity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lest forget all those things that can be done year round, but seem to be best when done in the cold of the winter. Like having a steaming hot mug of spiced cider, or rich hot chocolate stirred with the last of the candy canes. Snuggling deep down in the blankets on the couch while watching a movie with that special someone. We especially can’t leave out  basking in front of the fireplace, while you read your favorite book. All these things seem to be even better with the pervasive chill that goes while winter is still in the air.

Remember; there is less than a month -either way you look at it- to enjoy the wonders of winter and the chance it has to make memories with those you love. Time ticks away and the snow is melting; so what are you waiting for. Carpe diem, carpe vitam. Seize the day, seize life. Go out there and explore the magic of winter before the dawn of spring comes.

Murder Mystery Dinner

On February 15th, there was a murder.

It took place in Downtown Portland, at the Old Spaghetti Factory where my husband and I went to dine, with friends.  We were called upon to help solve the crime, and so were our friends.  One of them was even implicated as a suspect!  We had a blast! Mystery dinner theater is so much fun!

 

If you have never been, you should give it a try.  Most major cities, and many not so major ones, have dinner theater troupes.  Just look up “mystery dinner theater near me” on the internet to find your nearest options. Ticket prices may seem high, until you consider that you are getting dinner and a night of entertainment all rolled into one.

 

The experience varies a little by theater company, but some things are the same.  Your ticket usually gets you dinner and dessert, as well an interactive mystery performance.

 

Beyond that, things start to differ. Some shows are set in the here and now.  Others have a theme and you can dress up if you like. The one we attended, put on by The Murder Mystery Company, was set in the 1920’s, and the majority of the diners were dressed in some semblance of 1920’s dress. In some troupes, the performers are hidden amongst the other diners, in others a handful of clearly labeled actors help set the tone.  Either way, the paying diners are lead through the murder mystery to solve the questions of who committed the murder and why.  Who knows, it could even be you! Some troupes give prizes and/or certificates to the diners for solving the crime and/or for their performance and participation in the mystery theater.

Things to know:

  • Usually tickets must be purchased in advance, before the night of the show. Most shows sell out, so don’t wait too long to purchase tickets, or you may miss the show.
  • Some shows have a minimum age, so if you would like to take minors, make sure to check the minimum age, before purchasing tickets.
  • While your ticket gets you a 3-4 course dinner (exact number depends on the troupe), drinks are usually extra.
  • You usually get to choose between 3-4 entrees, and most troupes allow special requests for those with special dietary needs, but they need to be made in advance, when ordering tickets.
  • Some troupes prepay tips to the servers and/or the actors (two distinct, different sets of workers).  Check web sites to see if you will be encouraged to pay one, the other, or both gratuities, so you are not caught unawares.
  • Most have a bar available, but you will have to pay for your drinks. The bar is often cash only.
  • Most locations have an ATM on site, but not all. Check in advance, so you can plan accordingly.
  • Some theater companies have different levels of tickets, others have add-on packages, so read the web material provided before picking which tickets/add-ons are right for you.
  • Plan on being at the venue for about 3 hours.

 

Why not treat yourself, loved ones, and/or friends. We had a blast with great food and wonderfully engaging entertainment. We are sure you will too. Find all your fellow mystery lovers and see if you can crack the case as we did; even tell us about your experience. You can post your story below, let us know on facebook, or use the hashtag #MoreBees to share your night or murder and mystery.

Limited Time Sale!

♥Happy Valentine’s Day!♥

 

To show our love and appreciation, we would like to offer you a gift.

Flowers, sweets, and jewelry are traditional gifts on Valentine’s Day. We are offering a set, in it’s own decorative Valentine’s Day box, with our take on all three. In this set you will receive a full-sized bar of our Pink Rose Soap, a tube of our Strawberry Lip Balm, and one of our decorative pins.

 

 

To claim your gift, simply go to our online shop.

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t like rose? This gift set is available with Lavender soap as well.

 

This offer is good until February 14th 2018, at midnight. So if you would like to claim one for yourself or a loved one, you had better hurry.

We have several different pins, so the pin you receive may differ from the one shown.