The queen bee must lay 1,500-2,000 eggs a day to keep the hive’s population growing. The video below shows the queen walking on the honey comb to find an empty cell to lay an egg into. You can see her sticking her head into the cells, she does this not only to check and see if there is already an egg in it but also to determine what size the cell is. Once she determines the cell is empty, she will then put her head in further to gauge the size of the cell in order to determine whether the cell is made for males or females.
The female (worker bees) cell is smaller than the large male (drone) cells. The ratio of males to females is regulated by the worker bees when building the comb. The mass majority of the cells are made for females with the male cells are found towards the bottom, outer-edges of the comb. Usually males comprise less than 10% of the population, each hive differs and can be as low as 1%.
The queen then sinks her abdomen into the cell and deposits the egg which has a sticky end that keeps the egg upright. In three days the egg will hatch and this will be the larvae stage, in the picture you can see the fresh laid egg in the center of the honey comb cell.
So what’s happening in the hive lately? The queens have been busy and their eggs are prepped and ready to hatch in just three days! Check out these intimate pics within the honey comb… With spring well on it’s way, the hives are keeping pretty busy. As you can see below the queen has mated and started to lay her eggs. Notice the faint white markings, those are each an individual bee waiting to hatch. The queen will need to lay 1500-2000 eggs a day to increase the population of the hive, crazy fact: that is equal to her body weight! Talk about a full-time job! On the first day the queen’s eggs have been laid, they stand vertical. By the second day, they start to lean over and by the third day this is when the egg is completely horizontal and it will hatch to become new larvae.
The bright yellow and glossy/shiny bundles consist of pollen that the bees have collected on their daily foraging to feed the eggs. Each cell is saved for an individual pollen source. For example, on a daily basis bees will collect pollen or “food” from several sources like kale, broccoli, pine trees, and lavender. When they bring the “food” back to the hive, they will deposit the pollen in the respective cells, never cross-depositing. Isn’t that fascinating? What crazy little creatures. #savethebees
With spring quickly approaching, it’s the most busiest time for bees and their beekeepers. The hives activity has been very “buzy” in the last few weeks as they work tirelessly to build their population in order to take advantage of the upcoming abundance of spring blooms.
Below you can see a queen cell that is being reared in a hive that is preparing to swarm. But why are they swarming you ask? Swarming is ultimate success of a hive. The bees have worked hard the past year in order to position themselves to create a new hive. The old queen lays new queen cells as she and the older bees leave to make a new hive, leaving behind a new queen and younger bees to continue operating the existing hive.
Did you know…that when bees are swarming, they are at their most docile stage. Don’t be afraid, they aren’t seeking to hurt or harm you. Should a swarm locate near your home, leave it undisturbed, they will soon leave but if they are a nuisance, pull up Google and search “bee keeping society” in your area. They offer humane, ethical removal services for these protected creatures.
The picture below showcases nectar collection. The nectar will fuel the bees for the spring season as they will need energy to feed on the bountiful spring blooms. The honey that has built up over the season will be collected at the end of the summer season.