Thursday’s bees

Bumble bee on spirea.

Bumble bee on the wing.

Sweat bee on ceanothus.

Sweat bee on English daisy.

Honey bee hungry.

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  • I saw a EHB yesterday that had collected so much pollen that he or she could barely fly off. In fact it was so overladen that it had to stop and rest every ten feet or so. I was concerned for the little fella so I followed ten feet at a time, with a little box to scoop him up if it where necessary. But gradually it made it all the way back to the hive. It sat at the entrance for quite a while, before moving inside.

  • I’m a NEW beekeeper…… What does EHB stand for?….. I’m assuming….something…honey bee?

      • When I bought my hive (brood box)(in April this year) it was already “up and running” with a nice colony and (I was told an Italian queen). I don’t know exactly what that means…. But she’s so prolific that the colony had to be split in June, to keep from swarming. Is she considered an EHB?

        My granddaughter ask how I knew the queen was Italian ….. I told her she buzzes with an accent! : )

        • Lyn,

          Italian bees are a subspecies, ligustica, of the European honey bee, Apis mellifera. So put together, they are Apis mellifera ligustica. Since they are a sub-species they can (and do) freely interbreed with other European honey bees. Italians are known for being excellent honey producers and they build big colonies early in the season. They are also known for being gentle.

          Italians have negative traits as well: they are known to overwinter with huge populations which requires a lot of food. (Some bees, like Carniolans, overwinter with small colonies and so don’t require so much stored food.) Italians are also very prone to disease and parasites, and they do not do as well in cold, wet weather as some other bees.

          The best bee type depends on what you are trying to achieve and where you live. Personally, I want nothing to do with Italians because of my local climate and because high honey production is not a priority with me. When I see a lot of really yellow bees (a characteristic of Italians) I re-queen my hives with Carniolans.

          But, like I said, it all depends. Most beginners start with Italians because they get a good crop of honey early in the process. That’s a good thing because it keeps people interested. People who make a living off honey also like Italians because they start early and make a lot. So there’s not good or bad bees . . . just preferred bees.

          • I’m in Central Florida, plenty of warm weather very little cold. I was told you need to leave at least 40 lbs of honey to overwinter in each hive. I guess that will depend on how big these colonies get before winter. I split my original hive 3 weeks ago, so Now I have two. I split it right before I had to leave town for three weeks. I’m told that I should not open it to see if all is well and they’ve created a new queen for 4-5 weeks. My friends that are taking care of the farm tell me bees are moving in and out of the hive. I’m very anxious to see how they are doing. I get home tomorrow.

          • Since the Italians are good honey producers it shouldn’t be damaging for them to need more honey left in the hive to overwinter a large colony. Also, I imagine there are benefits to a lot of bees overwintering, like they wouldn’t start out spring with weakened numbers.

            My bees are Italians, and they are so CALM. I think they are good bees for a beginning beekeeper for that reason.

            • My Italians are calm too . . . LOVE IT!!! Sure makes it easier for a new beekeeper like myself.