Busy as a Bee

The bees have been hard at work putting away honey and making new bees. We have had warm, sunny weather lately and everything is in bloom so there is constant traffic around the hive with bees coming in laden with pollen and back out to collect more. When my parents visited a few days ago my dad was eager to see how the hive was progressing so we opened it up for a look.

 

White capped honey

 

The wax that looks white contains honey. They put this around the outer edges and corners of the frames- this is the honey they are putting away to eat during the winter.

 

 

 

In the middle of the frames, especially those in the center of the hive where it is safe and warm, the queen lays her eggs. In this photo you can see a little white speck in some of the cells (an egg), and in others the curved shape of the larvae is visible. Workers put a layer of royal jelly over the eggs to feed the larvae and later fill the cell up with more food for the developing bee to eat. These cells look yellow, compared to the white honey cells.

 

 

Once the babies are big enough, they eat their way through the yellow plug and join the colony. Our queen likely started laying eggs almost immediately after being set up in the new hive, so we already have new members of the colony flying around. Its hard to tell in the photos, but the young bees are smaller than the adults. They spend the first part of their lives working in the hive and then once they are full grown with strong wings they take over the task of collecting pollen. Worker bees only live for a month or two, and it takes the larvae almost a month to develop, so the makeup of the colony is constantly changing and being renewed. Only the Queen remains the same, sometimes for years.

 

 

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Busy as a Bee

  1. How fascinating! Will you use the beeswax too? I knew someone who make taper candles out of the beeswax and they are lovely. He also would take sheets of honeycomb and roll into a taper. They burn so nice,

    • We won’t be able to remove anything from the hive this year- all the honey they make this summer will be needed for them to survive the winter- but next summer they will start to put away honey and wax for us and we plan to use as much of it as we can!

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