Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How many bees does it take to change a lightbulb?

I'm not sure how many bees it takes to change a lightbulb, but I know how many bees it takes to pollinate one meyer lemon tree....A LOT!

When Yukiko and I were up at our Tarpon Springs apiary, I saw to my delight, that the flowers are finally in bloom. The citrus flowers are just about to explode! The area we have the hives situated is at a friend's house who has many unusual exotic fruit trees so we're expecting really unusual delicious honey from that location. Many of the plants aren't blooming yet but here are a few of them at least:

While we were there, I checked one of the two remaining deep hives and found several frames which were completely chock full of brood. Brood is the unborn bee babies that look like brown capped rounded mounds that you can see the nurse bees in this picture keeping warm below:

You can see a few holes of empty cells that are not in a more complete state like the rest of them, but most of those cells had larvae in them waiting to turn into these magical honey bees! Really it was an incredibly dense frame of babies on the verge of being born. I am expecting quite a nice explosion in their population when these frames all burst forth in the next few days. More bees equals more of everything, honey, pollen, wax, propolis etc! Exciting stuff!

This last picture is one of the two remaining deeps we have. Deeps are just a deeper box that is used. It is a bit more than nine inches in depth, vs most of my other hive bodies which are called "mediums" at 6.25 inches deep. The deep hive body size were an industry standard until not too long ago. Deeps have some advantages but their main disadvantage is they become very heavy once laden with honey and pollen! My back is already thanking me for deciding to go with mediums.

Nonetheless the deeps do present an impressive wall of wax as you can see from this picture. This picture also perfectly illustrates the more natural method of beekeeping that I use. I do not use any foundation (wax or plastic insert between the wood frame). this means that like in the wild, the bees build all of the honeycomb from the top of the frame. They make all of it and as you can see in the picture they build it in engineered stages. Many times they will make bridges to span the gaps using their own bodies. Several bees will make a chain holding onto their girlfriend's legs so they can work more efficiently around the frame. Here is a picture of that from last year:

Fascinating stuff right? Next blog I will discuss the different ways and kinds of pollen that come into the hive and how we harvest it. The colors are something to behold! Stay tuned....

No comments:

Post a Comment