Thursday, September 13, 2012

So much sweetness

Yesterday I was extracting honey. When I was finished, I took some of the honey-coated wax cappings I'd scraped off a frame and put them on a yogurt container lid. Then I took it outside and weighed it down with a rock, got my camera, and started snapping. (Owl Wood might want to turn his head away at this point!)

At this time of the year, honeybees go into a frenzy if they find honey anywhere. Shortly after I took this photos, the lid was coated with honeybees (which I neglected to photograph!)

The more time I spend with my honeybees, watching them and working with them, the more I appreciate and love them. And for those who fear them, think about the fact that my camera lens was about two inches away from the bees when I took those photos, and my head was brushing against a sedum plant loaded with foraging honeybees. No, I did not get stung. When bees are out collecting nectar, they are focused on their task and generally unaggressive and uninterested in you!


A younger worker bee drinking up honey. Worker bees live for about six weeks in the summer season. They cycle through various jobs in the hive (cleaning lady, nurse bee, wax-maker, undertaker) before beginning their final work as foragers. 


This bee looks pretty good. Her wings are in nice shape, and her thorax is still quite fuzzy. Near the end of her life (presuming she's not eaten by a bird, stepped on by a human or otherwise prematurely killed), her thorax will be worn smooth and hairless on top, and her wings will be tattered. Often the foragers just drop dead while out in the field. Honeybees literally work themselves to death, for the good of the hive.



Quite the honey party going on here!



This is a honeybee in a state of bliss. Back legs splayed out, proboscis deep in the honey... aahhhhh!




And they can be quite the contortionists.



I wonder what yoga pose this is? "Nectar-drinking upward bee"?


Sweeter than sweet.


Then along comes an Eastern Yellow Jacket...


If she had entered a beehive, she would have been attacked and likely killed by the residents. But out in the field, they sip honey companionably together.



Quite the mandibles on her! She has the face of a cartoon character.




Okay, I'm probably the only one that finds this cute. But I do!


Here's another tiny bee...


I think it's a sweat bee but I'm not sure. Does anyone know?



Enjoying the sweetness of life.



I like how the incoming bee already has her tongue stuck out, ready to get that honey!


You can see her proboscis (tongue) particularly well in this photo.



And here's one on the nearby sedum.

Today I have honeybees bouncing off my office windows. I put out two supers full of extracted frames for the bees to clean out before I store them for winter. They take out every last drop of honey.

 You need to do this well away from the hives, otherwise you can encourage the bees to rob each other of their honey stores. They go nuts at this time of year when you put out the boxes and start looking  everywhere for honey, including my house and garage. The frenzy soon dies down but if you have a fear of bees, you probably wouldn't want to be walking around outside my house right now! It doesn't bother me but it is a little disconcerting to see them pinging themselves off the glass.

PS: If my Dad were still alive, he'd be 82 today. Hope he's off having a beer and a laugh somewhere. Here we are in 1975. Note my cat brooch. :)





28 comments:

  1. Your Dad looks like a Hollywood Actor!
    I could swear I used to heave the same cat brooch. Was it green? I think I still have it!

    The bee photos are really nice!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was fake gold, but I bet they made them in different colours! :) Glad you liked the bees.

      Delete
  2. They look sweet and they have fur. It's a very nice picture of you and your dad.

    Hugs

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's surprising how fuzzy they are! :)

      Delete
  3. Love the bee pictures! They are beautiful! I just got a macro lens for my camera, but I haven't had a chance to test it out yet. These pics are inspiring me to give it a try. Just lovely!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Go for it! Love your blog, btw!

      Delete
  4. Anonymous3:46 pm

    Great pictures!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Amazing from start to finish. The bee photos had already prompted many thoughts about life, and then you threw in the last one of yourself and your Dad, which multiplied the thoughts and opened up a whole new context.

    And re: "Near the end of her life her thorax will be worn smooth and hairless on top, and her wings will be tattered", my old Granny used to complain about exactly the same thing :), or should that be :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed them, Andrew!

      I was pretty close to my Dad and I still miss him a lot, 20 years later.

      I'm feeling a bit worn smooth and hairless myself lately...:)

      Delete
  6. Well, happy birthday Dad! Can't believe how you look so much the same today!
    One fine picture after another.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Red! I have a few more wrinkles than I did 37 years ago. :)

      Delete
  7. Love the photos once again. You have to tell me what camera you are using.

    Love you and your Dad. My Dad has been gone for 17 years now. I still miss him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a Nikon D70 SLR with I would like to buy the new Nikon D7100 that's coming out. My D70 is about eight years old now and I could do with a new camera body. I just got the macro lens, which is a Nikkor 40mm. I love it!!!

      TIme sure flies, doesn't it? My Dad has been gone 20 years, my Mum 15.

      Delete
  8. So many great pics. I especially like the bee (no.4) whose sitting like a bear. Up close the yellow jackets remind me of a person all suited up to maybe ride in a motocross event or some other sports event that necessitates an all-over flashy outfit. You and your Dad look like the Two Musketeers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love #4! She IS like a little bear! ANd your motocross analogy is perfect. That's exactly what it looks like!

      :)))

      Delete
    2. My Mom is 88 now and still doing good! I am lucky.

      Thank you for the info on your camera. It sure take fantastic photos.

      Delete
  9. Be warned... National Geographic will be calling you. When they do; say 'Yes'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for that LOVELY compliment!!! I would love to start selling some bug photos. I've sold a few others in the past.

      Delete
  10. Great, intriguing photos as usual (and I learned something new about bees - the seasonal honey frenzy). The "honey bliss" bee is my fave. Close up the wasp is striking. It's when they are buzzing around or landing for a painful strike, I find them intolerable.

    Janet

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't blame you there! But they really are interesting little creatures when they aren't stinging you!

      Delete
  11. Smashing phots nat. I wish we had the mantis here!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One day one will make it over in a shipping crate!

      Delete
  12. Your bee photos are great, as usual, but the last pic of you and your dad is very special. So much love and humanity comes through. You both sparkle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much. My parents split when I was 8, but my Dad saw me every weekend and talked to me on the phone every single day, which was pretty impressive. We had our photos taken every year for a while and they bring back lots of nice memories. :)

      Delete
  13. Oh, well I am just a passer-by, so don't mind me very much. (I just found you through googling).
    Yes, I too love the splayed-out bee and the bee + wasp short friendship photos. Very nice, the whole shooting.
    But then again, your whole blog is quite striking. I appreciate the simple living motto.

    ReplyDelete

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