An Afternoon With My Girls

Just a short update after my trip to the bee yard yesterday.  It was the kind of day every bee keep dreams of for an early spring visit to the hive.  No wind, sixty one degrees and a nice warm sun.  Its been two weeks since I first peaked in the hive and what a change the warm weather brings.

The first hive I went to was the hive I did not locate the queen in during my last visit.  With nice weather and feeling like I could have the hive open longer I had no trouble spotting her.  I proceeded to find the queen in all three of the remaining hives as well.  The big change from two week ago is the amount of brood.  Brood is capped larva.  The queen lays the egg, which becomes a larva after three days.  The larva is fed by the worker bees until on day eight or nine is transforms into a pupa at which time the workers cap the cell containing the pupa.  Two weeks ago there was little capped brood, just enough to know the queen was active and only a little larva.  Now the area of larva and capped brood has been expanded to a couple of large areas on two to three frames.  The warm weather has the hives ramping up and everyone looks healthy.

The other thing I took notice of was the pollen coming into the hive.  A dirty white colored pollen and a bright yellow.  The yellow has to be from crocus as that is the only thing in bloom that I know of and the dirty white is from pussywillow catkins.

It just occurred to me that some of you may not know what a hive is made up of.  If I can find a diagram I will make another post and describe a hive.  In the mean time, check out this link and see what a grocery store produce section would look like if we didn’t have bees.  Its a terrific visual example of the value of our little fuzzy friends.

Interesting Facts About Bees

  • It takes 12 bees their entire lifetime to make just one teaspoon of honey.
  • Honey bees visit 2 million flowers to make one pound of honey
  • Field bees visit 50 to 100 flowers during each trip.
  • Honey bees fly 12 and 15 miles per hour.
  • Honey bees flap their wings 12,000 times per minute.
  • Honey bees are covered in hairs designed to trap pollen. Even their eyes have hair on them! As they collect pollen for their hive the bees bodies transfer it from flower to flower and that’s how pollination occurs.
  • Honey is essentially dehydrated nectar from flowers.  Bees eat honey and pollen from flowers. They ferment the pollen first and mix it with honey in order to be able to digest it.
  • One honey bee hive visits about 225,000 flowers per day.
  • A strong hive may contain up to 60,000 honey bees.
  • All the worker bees are female.  The drones or male bees have only one job and that is to mate with the queen. The drone mates one time then he dies.
  • The queen bee can mate with up to 45 drones. But the average number is 13.
  • The queen goes on a mating flight several days after she emerges. Once a queen bee is mated, she keeps the drone’s sperm alive inside her for the rest of her life. She never mates again.
  • A queen bee lays up to 2000 eggs a day (an average of one every 45 seconds) and may lay a million eggs in her entire lifetime.
  • The queen bee decides to lay a fertilized egg which will be a worker bee or new queen or an unfertilized egg which will develop into a drone.

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