This photo was taken by Mr Meshal Allogmani from Makka, Saudi Arabia. His bees are busy building honeycomb. The first comb in the background looks normal, but the one in front is amazingly different. I think the appearance is due to the wax being extremely transparent, so we are seeing the structure on the other side. But to me it looks oddly like snowflakes—white, delicate, and six-sided—not deserty at all. If you follow the links, Mr Allogmani has posted several more photos and a cool YouTube video of his bees working inside the hive.
The hive you are seeing is a barrel-shaped structure that fits inside a box. The honey bees are Apis mellifera yemenitica, also known as Apis mellifera jemenitica. According to an article in the journal ZooKeys entitled, “The indigenous honey bees of Saudi Arabia: Their natural history and role in beekeeping,” this subspecies of honey bee is “far more heat tolerant than the standard races often imported from Europe.”
The beekeeper and his friend who sent the photos, Abbas Aldahri, are wondering if anyone else has seen comb like this and what may be the cause. They are both familiar with this subspecies of honey bee, yet never saw comb like this before. What do you think?
Honey Bee Suite