Saturday, April 11, 2009

Working the Bees

Taking the hive apart, looking for the queen. She's in there somewhere. The frame grips in my right hand are optional, but the hive tool in my left hand is the one tool all beekeepers use. I carry one in my hand at all times. Everything in a beehive is stuck together with propolis or burr comb, and has to be pried apart, which is what the hive tool is used for. I've noticed that beekeepers in Holly-bee movies, such as Ulee's Gold or The Secret Life of Bees, don't carry hive tools, which is an inauthentic touch. A beekeeper without a hive tool is like a carpenter without a hammer or a plumber without a monkeywrench. But surely we don't depend on Hollywood for our understanding of reality, do we?

Here's a nice pattern picture: "Bees on Frame." Notice the cells full of yellow pollen at the very bottom. Bees have no sense of personal distance -- they are always touching each other. A strong bee colony is a solid mass of bees. This makes it difficult for pests such as wax moths to gain a foothold, except in weak colonies which have dwindled to the point that the bees can no longer cover all the frames.


Anonymous Jacques Conejo said...

Looking for the queen? How do you distinguish the queen?

Then what do you do with the old queen and how do you introduce the new one?

If you put in a "good" queen last year, why does she have to be replaced again this year? Does she become "bad"?


4:04 PM  

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