Monday, October 10, 2011

I pay a lot of attention to honeybees

by Gavin Layton on Monday, October 10, 2011 at 10:21am
I pay a lot of attention to honeybees these days.  They work, work, work: their lives regimented by their age and circumstances of birth. Then they die and are replaced by others.  But now and then I see a honeybee fooling around, doing nothing obviously useful, flouting the common perception of what bees do.  This summer a swarm of bees built a hive out in the open on the branch of a big fir tree. It thrived as the bees built 18” pendants of honeycomb. Then the weather turned. Wind buffeted the hive. Rain came and the temperature dropped. They have no protection out on that limb.  They're all dying now, falling one by one into a pile on the ground where yellow jackets hover and cruise, waiting.

I don’t know why, but they tried to do something different. I don’t know if it was courage or foolishness, and it doesn’t really matter. For a couple of months they had the most beautiful hive I’ve ever seen.  And they were going to die anyway.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A new race

The #1 hive (the 2011 spring split from the original 'The Others' hive) seems to have changed race. They are darker and smaller than my original Italians. They seem to be a little more ornery too. The hive has some that look like the original Italians too. In the photo you can see the top one has more orange and is larger than the others.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

High in the tree

The swarm hive is filling out. You can see the beautiful combs now. Maybe I should cut them down and hive them but I want to watch and see what happens.