Sunday, May 23, 2010

Honeybee in May

I have a feeling that this summer is going to be a much better one for honeybees, given the spring we've had. I took this with my little Canon Elph and I have to say, I'm really impressed with the video quality on that thing!

My two hives of bees unfortunately died last November. My mentor thought they starved to death; it was a rough summer for them due to all the cold and rain. He lost four of his 40 hives in November too.

Two of my beehives are currently at my mentor's place. He is forcing swarms into them, and will then drive my hives (and the thousands of bees inside!) back to our farm.

If you watch the video, you can see Miss Honeybee's straw-like reddish tongue sucking out nectar. The dandelions are extremely popular right now, as are the flowering trees.

For all you who are terrified of honeybees, try not to be. If you have an allergy, of course you should stay away, but as you can see, a honeybee at work isn't really interested in you unless you are deliberately harassing her. I was holding the camera very close to this one and she paid no heed. I often sit in the garden closely watching the bees on the flowers and it's fascinating. Honeybees are not generally aggressive unless you are swatting at them or invading their hive. Hornets are another story...

If you ever notice yellow pollen on the back legs of a honeybee, that's because they have pollen "baskets" there where they store the pollen they are collecting. The sacs get bigger and bigger as the foraging goes on. When the bee is all full up with pollen and/or nectar, she goes back to the hive to drop off her delivery!


  1. we had completed a bee course last year but have not gotten around to buy a hive as yet... great to think that the honey bees may do better this year

  2. JOhn, I encourage you to go for it. It's good to start with two hives if possible, so you can compare their progress. I just LOVED beekeeping last year, even though the poor girls didn't survive, and I learned so much. I am taking a course with my husband in June. Last year he wasn't into it but now that he's seen me in action, he is fascinated and wants to help with the bees. We had a terrible summer last year, wet and cold and late, and my girls had a slow start, then couldn't bring in enough food (despite me supplementing them with sugar syrup!)

  3. It's great to see bees in action. We did have a small honey bee nest a few years back but sadly they left.

  4. Oh, I'm sorry that you lost your hives. I sure hope you have better luck this year.

  5. I had wondered how your hives survived the cold. I have interesting news for you. I'm still part of the Great Sunflower Project which counts honeybees on sunflowers and then reports the info back to a research group. Today was my 2nd day. I had bumble, carpenter, honey and green (sweat) bees. I could stand right by the blooms and none of them stung me. Most bees are relatively nice until you mess w/ the hive or try to capture them. Wasps are the only naughty ones.

  6. It was a bad bad year. I just read an article in the paper about the local commercial beekeeper. He lost way too many hives and thinks he'll have to quit if this keeps up.

    Robin, some people do bring their hives inside in winter (into a barn or some such building), but usually they just wrap the hives well with insulation. Your bee project sounds really cool!


Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!