Learning About the Bees and Preparing for Winter

Observing bees then looking up any behaviors that you do not understand is a great way to learn more about bees.

 

Here a honey bee is slurping up honey of the lid of her hive.

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In this picture a bee is returning home.

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Here are some bees at the entrance of their hive.

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When bees are warm they beard. Bearding is when the bees gather on the outside of the hive to cool down the hive.

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These pictures were taken on a hot, July day so the bees had an excellent reason to beard.

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Here is a picture of bees bearding during the day.

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Here is a picture of the hives in July. The great big hive is actually two colonies! Normally two colonies do not live together in one hive. We figured out that there were two colonies living in one hive when Mike and Julie noticed that there were eggs in both the deep boxes and the supers. To find out if the queen was in the brood boxes or the supers at the time of the inspection they placed a queen excluder between the deep boxes and the supers to prevent the queen from moving throughout the hive. A queen excluder is a metal rack that is used to prevent the queen from moving freely throughout the hive. At the next inspection there were still eggs in both the deep boxes and the supers. First Mike and Julie thought that maybe the queen was so small that she was slipping through the queen excluder. Another possibility was that the queen was flying from the bottom entrance to the top entrance and laying eggs on both sides of the queen excluder. The second possibility is very unlikely because when a queen is laying she weighs so much she cannot fly. They finally figured out that there where two queens in this hive. One queen was laying eggs above the queen excluder and the other was laying eggs below it. This was an extraordinary thing. The workers were caring for two queens!

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Here is a picture after Mike and Julie split the two hives. They kept one hive one on top of the other so that the foragers would return to their proper colonies.

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This is an upper entrance of a hive.

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Here are bees in flight.

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Here is the entrance of a hive. Guard bees protect the hive from intruders.

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Here is a ball of bees trying to enter the top hive entrance.

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Here is the bottom entrance. Look at the bees in the “v” position.

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Here is another view of the bottom entrance. Notice all the bees that are between the bottom board and the bottom deep box.

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Here are workers entering the top entrance.

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A huge group of bees that have gathered on the side of the hive.

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Here is one of our younger sisters, Olivia, Mike, and me beginning a hive inspection.  Our younger sister is standing in the background, observing.  This is actually a big step for her and I am proud of her being willing to be so close.

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Look at all the smoke that is above the hive.

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Here we are looking at the first few frames.

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I am pulling a frame from the super. Julie is showing our younger sister a frame.

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We are looking for the queen or eggs on this frame. Olivia has an eye for spotting eggs. In preparation for winter, the queen lays bees to survive the winter. She stops laying eggs after that because when brood is in the hive the nurse bees protect it. The nurse bees will kill themselves to keep the brood warm.

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Here I am getting a better look at the frame. The easiest way to spot eggs is to stand with your back to the sun and tilt the frame slightly so that you can see straight into the bottom of the cells.

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Olivia showing of one of her favorite things. Honey!

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The bees entering or leaving through the inner cover.

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A honey bee slurping up honey we dripped all over the frames.

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Abigail

 

One Reply to “Learning About the Bees and Preparing for Winter”

  1. When people say “busy as bees” we now are sure of what they mean. This is fascinating. Thanks for the info.
    Grandma Kelly

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