Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Busy bees

It would appear that the bees in the bee gum have survived the winter OK. Today they were busily zooming in and out. I tried to get a picture of a bee with full pollen baskets, but boy, are they fast! You can see one on the upper right, all blurry, coming in for a landing.

I was sitting right in front of the entrance with my camera, and I could hear all the bee traffic stacking up behind me like a busy day at O'Hare with only one runway open. When the buzzing started to take on a slightly irritated quality ("C'mon, lady, you're in the way!"), I just leaned back and business continued as usual.

Part of that business happened to be hive cleanup, as I discovered when an undertaker lurched out and landed on my leg.
She was carrying a partially developed adult bee that I'm guessing froze in its cell or failed to develop for some other reason.
Kind of freaky-looking, isn't it? Like a ghost bee.

My swarm cards arrived and I passed some out to my neighbors today. Everyone's enthusiastic about looking for bees now!


  1. This is great... you are really official now.

  2. I love the airport analogy. Have you gotten stung yet?

  3. How great that you're involving the whole neighborhood... There's strength in numbers!

  4. That is so cool! I never got to see the pollen baskets up close like that! and the dead bee is definitely a bit freaky but also interesting in that the "undertaker" was doing some spring cleaning!
    Congrats on the cards! Definitely looking forward to hearing if people start contacting you! yay!!

  5. I SO enjoy reading about your bee adventures!

  6. Looks more like an alien. Have you noticed how aliens in movies look like insect macros?

  7. Mimi, I'm pretty good at pretending!

    Betts, um, yep! Now I have.

    JGH, I hope so!

    Thanks, Pam and Kathi!

    Kimchi, I hope to get a better photo someday. The baskets are pretty neat. The freaky stuff, I just try to think of as interesting so that I don't gross myself out.

    Manisha, so true. Like "Aliens."

  8. Amazing! Learning about these bees makes them seem like so much more than an insect, as many people are quick to classify them.

  9. (This may be a duplicate comment. If so just ignore)
    Your "ghost bee" is a malformed baby. Probably a victim of a Varroa Mite infestation of the hive: one of the reasons that bees no longer survive in the wild.

  10. Hey Maris, I missed your comment earlier. Yeah, bees are a lot more than "just bugs"!

    Thanks, Debbee. I had a couple other bee folks tell me it was probably varroa cleanup, too. But it's funny you say there are no bees in the wild, as that's most of the bees around here. I know of at least 10 bee trees within two blocks of me -- well-established hives that swarm yearly because they're so robust. Mites are killing off kept bees on large-cell foundation faster than ferals, it seems.