A recent gift from my crafty neighbor in the bee yard. It shows a bee flying in front of a flower. Too cute! ©Erik Brown
My two original Langstroth hives, Mars and Jupiter, have had their ups and downs this year. Mars did well, but then had queen issues. Jupiter survived a split, a swarm that I caught, and likely another swarm that I missed. Both hives are going into winter and I have been checking mite drops on the bottom board of both hives lately.
This is their story.
First swarm of the year. Really, first swarm of my life. To think I started this endeavor just over a year ago, hiving my three hives on April 19, 2015. Now the little buggers (literally!) are going off on their own. I remember when they were just a little nuc box, eager to grow into a full-sized hive. Continue reading
As you can see from the frame covered in capped brood, the bees have been busy. The flowers are slowly appearing in a steady procession of color. Last year I carefully wrote down the bloom dates of many plants around our yard, so this seems a good time to start this up again. I created a new page for this, and have an update on my spring goals as well. Continue reading
I recently finished Fedor Lazutin’s book Keeping Bees With A Smile. It is a rather fascinating read about keeping bees naturally in the depths of Russia, where the winters really are six months long. I have to thank the Happy Hour at the Top Bar blog for recommending the book. I really enjoyed the different perspective on beekeeping and discussion of a hive style I was not at all familiar with. Continue reading
Bee School has been snowed out the past two weeks, so I was happy to attend the March meeting of the Prince William Regional Beekeepers Association yesterday. The topic was Swarm Prevention and Control, and the room was packed with 50 or 60 people. Continue reading
I finished reading Thomas D. Seeley’s excellent book Honeybee Democracy this past week, and it has me thinking about bee colonies as superorganisms. The idea is that a specialized colony of animals such as termites, coral, or bees behaves as a single organism, and can be treated as such. This had me wondering how a bee colony compares to our own special type of organism, the human body, which in turn led to this post.
Honey bee swarm image from the site honeybeeswarmremoval.com
So just what are these social insects called honey bees?
Honey bee egg and larva in the comb
Honey bees, like all holometabolous insects, grow in four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and finally the bee. The egg, larva, and pupa stages occur in the honeycomb, after which they become a buzzing bee. This you probably know.
You may also know there are three types of adult honey bees. Continue reading