Yesterday produced the first warm and sunny afternoon we’ve had in many days. People all over town were outside working in their yards. I was in the woodshed splitting oak logs for next winter. In the distance I could hear a shop vac groaning and, from the opposite direction, the fire of a pneumatic nail […] Read more
I often watch honey bees walking on the comb and wonder how they manage to keep all their feet out of the holes. On an empty comb, there are far more spaces than surfaces–and inside a hive it is totally dark and terribly crowded. Just another reason why bees are endlessly fascinating!
Like nearly everything else in beekeeping, how you handle queen cups depends on a number of factors. It depends on what you are trying to accomplish and whether you are a commercial beekeeper or a hobbyist. It is also influenced by your general attitude toward messing with nature. Oddly enough, it also changes with time: […] Read more
The amount of pollen brought back to a hive seems to depend on two things: the presence of brood in the hive and a genetic predisposition to hoard pollen. The relationship between these two phenomena was recently studied by Jennifer Tsuruda and Robert Page, Jr. and reported in the journal Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology. They […] Read more
It is totally presumptuous to say we know what’s going through a colony’s mind, but it seems that bees swarm for two reasons: the colony is crowded or the colony wants to reproduce. If the colony wants to reproduce, the “plans and preparations” have been going on for quite a while before it actually happens. […] Read more
During spring build-up, beekeepers often search for swarm cells in order to determine if the hive is preparing to swarm. But what is a swarm cell and how is it different from a supersedure cell? First of all, the term “cell” usually refers to an oversize structure attached to the comb in which a queen […] Read more
The first thing to remember about swarming is that it is a perfectly normal phenomenon. Swarming is nature’s way of reproducing a colony of bees. Without swarming, honey bees as they exist today would not have survived down through the ages. Swarm prevention turns out to be a duel between the beekeeper and the natural […] Read more