Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Honey Bee Update: Week 5 (A bit past due)

I posted briefly the other day about our hive checkup. Here are a few followup pictures from that event. Our lovely Blue Moon Hive looking..well, lovely.

This is a pretty nifty shot. Here we're looking directly at the foundation. You can see that the frames have been drawn out by the bees. The larvae are clearly visible within the individual chambers. They look like U-shaped white blobs.

Here is a short blurb from wikipedia on brood: Bee brood frames are composed of brood at various stages of development - eggs, larvae, and pupae. In each cell of honeycomb, the queen lays an egg, gluing it to the bottom of the cell. The queen tends to lay brood in a circular pattern. At the height of the brood laying season, the queen may lay so many eggs per day, that the brood on a particular frame may be virtually of the same age. As the egg hatches, worker bees add royal jelly- a secretion from glands on the heads of young bees. For three days the young larvae are fed royal jelly, then they are fed nectar or diluted honey and pollen. A few female larvae in special queen cups may be selected to become queens. Their special queen cups are flooded with royal jelly for six days. The extra royal jelly speeds up the queen larvae development. Only the queen will have fully developed ovaries, ie. she will be sexually mature. Drone (male bees) brood develops from unfertilized eggs. Drone brood cells are larger than the cells of female worker bees. Young larvae eat their way through the royal jelly in a circular pattern until they become crowded, then they stretch out lengthwise in the cell. Soon they begin to spin a cocoon, and their older sisters cap the cell as they go into the pupa stage. These cells collectively are called "capped brood." Read the entire article here.

As I mentioned previously, we had to remove some burr comb from the hive. Most unfortunate, considering that it was filled will brood. Our workforce! Destroyed! Oh, what bad luck. I'm wondering if we should have let these ladies hatch and then removed the comb. Regardless, here you can see size/age progression. Honeybees emerge as adult bees after 21 days (3 weeks). The pupa on the right was probably only a few days away from hatching.

And last but not least, a lovely sweet bee


Illustration credit here.