A lacework of bees hanging together, leg-to-leg, between the frames of comb is called a “festoon” and the behavior is called “festooning.” The bees hang in sheets between the frames; sometimes the pattern is as wide and as deep as the frame itself. If you slowly separate two frames during the spring comb-building season, you […] Read more
The spectrum of visible light for honey bees is shifted toward the ultraviolet end. They see things that we can’t in the shorter ultraviolet wave lengths. On the other hand, bees don’t see red. A red flower appears to them as a black spot. Many flowers have patterns on their petals that reflect ultraviolet light. […] Read more
Once the brood comb is prepared, the queen lays one egg in each cell. Estimates vary widely as to how many eggs a queen can lay, but 1500-2000 per day is a reasonable assumption. Over the course of one spring and summer season, the queen probably reaches a maximum of about 200,000 eggs. When first […] Read more
In this picture you can see drone cells in the lower left, worker cells in the lower right, and both pollen and nectar everywhere else.
Nothing signals the approach of swarm season more reliably than the appearance of drones in the apiary. A colony won’t swarm if the new queen has no way to mate, but once drones are abundant, mating can occur and a populous colony may decide to split. Drone eggs are laid by the queen in special […] Read more
We’ve seen a lot of press about heater bees lately, but researcher Jurgen Tautz, explained this phenomenon in detail in his 2008 book, The Buzz about Bees. Using temperature-sensitive film, Tautz found that some bees are able to raise their body temperatures about 10 degrees C higher than normal bees by using rapid muscle contractions. […] Read more
Honey bees actually have two types of reproduction. The first type is the kind we normally think of—the queen mates, lays eggs, and new bees are born. The second type is whole-colony reproduction. This occurs when the colony splits into two parts. One part—comprising perhaps 40 to 70 percent of the hive population—leaves with the […] Read more