Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Latest buzzzz

Look away, bee-phobic ones!

I had a quick peak at my weird hive today. It's okay but not the strongest. The girls had two queens a little while back, then killed off the old queen once the new queen had successfully mated. Here she is. with the yellow dot on her back:

She's laying eggs but is a little slow. Can you see any eggs in these cells? Hint: they look like grains of rice.

Here, I've circled some for you!

The queen marches around cells, depositing eggs as she goes.

The population in that hive is definitely growing, and this is a nice frame of capped brood (pupating larvae in the cells, capped with that orangey-brown beeswax!)

This frame is really old and need to be replaced, but not until all those eggs have hatched out! You can tell it's old by how dark the wax is.

The queen and her workers. You can see some larvae in the uncapped cells around the queen. They look like white grubs.

Can you spot the queen in this pic? The yellow dot helps! But she really is a lot bigger than the workers.

My friend Pierre is going to have a look and let me know whether or not we should replace the queen. That will involve squishing her unceremoniously and putting in a new, mated queen.

This weekend Pierre's helping me set up four new hives. The nucs I took over to his place a few weeks ago now have mated queens in them and are doing well. I am buying another nuc from him to bring it up to four new colonies, for a total of eight!

The girls were really cranky today, no doubt because we are having a roof putting over the duck run, and a backhoe drove by the hives twice on its way to and from making fencepost holes. Bees are not fond of machine-created vibrations! Actually, they're not very fond of vibrations, period. They were feisty today and took offence to my hive tool, but fortunately no one stung me. I used extra smoke to calm 'em down!

Bee good and bee-hive yourselves out there, ha ha.


  1. I'm assuming if the queen is unceremoniously squished, it will have to be away from the hive. Won't smushing her give off pheromones that will alarm the workers to danger?

  2. Fascinating information, thank you :-)

  3. You have such a wonderful way of portraying life in the beehive and posting wonderful photos that illustrate it perfectly. Have you thought about writing a book for children? With the crisis in beekeeping, you could promote positive attitudes in kids and maybe stimulate future generations of beekeepers! You would be doing humanity a service!

  4. You have to have a keen eye to find the eggs. I think Ms Sparrow may be on to something. I'll be your first customer since we seem to have lots of babies sproutin' around here. :)

  5. Long live the Queen!!! Why would you want to assasinate the poor thing?

  6. You wouldn't want to be claustrophobic if you're a bee! I will bee good and I will bee hive!

  7. What wonderful little things they are. All working away, just so you can have honey on your breakfast toast.

  8. That's awesome that you'll have so many more hives! Looks like things are going well for this hive. I really like how you explain everything and circle key things in your photos - it really helps! We got into our hive the other day and they were getting agitated at the end and attacking the hive tool. We hurried up and got it closed pretty quick!

  9. Fascinating! Our back neighbor has bee hives and I'm curious, but I'd much rather get a closer look for THIS angle! Thanks!

  10. To bee or not to bee ... hee hee

  11. I think it's cool how the Queen looks completely different.

  12. I envy you! In the past I have helped beekeepers and I would love to keep bees. However we have a black bear who considers the garden part of her territory. She is a good neighbour really. We keep our distances and she does the same. However keeping bees would be asking for troubles.

  13. Anonymous11:22 pm

    Very interesting. But unlike Alain, I'm content just to see your great photos! Sheri


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