My New Book


Honey Bee Nursery

I know I don’t do as many bee reports on the blog as I used to but in a lot of respects our bees do the same thing over and over. Not that I don’t delight in watching the hive, but how often can I report the same thing?

Things that are fun to check are larvae. I especially like frames with black foundation, makes things ten times easier to see and it really pops the color of the bees.

Above are mostly worker bee eggs (the things that look like mini rice) and some larvae off to the right. If you don’t find your queen when you’re digging around in your hive, you can be relatively confident that a she is alive somewhere in there because eggs stay in that shape for about three days as they are fed royal jelly from the worker bees.

Once the larvae is three days old, it’s switched to a mixture of pollen, honey and water (some bee sites call this bee bread). You can see at least one worker up there feeding someboyd as her head is wedged into a cell. The larvae grows and eats for six days.

After six days, the workers cap over the brood and they pupate for 12 days as they go from a squishy blob into a segmented, leggy, winged bee complete with stinger.

Like this girl! On a side note, while looking up something else entirely I wandered into an article on eating bee larvae. I suppose eating all that honey would make them tasty.

For those curious, I think our hives are doing splendidly this year. Many are as tall or even taller than I am because they are stacked with so many honey supers for us to harvest soon. Though, Lynne was quick to point out that since I’m only 5 feet tall, that’s not saying much.  Thanks, Lynne. ;)



3 comments to Honey Bee Nursery

  • Thanks for the bee post. I don’t think it’s boring (I first encountered you from a post from Neil about bees, starting following you on Twitter, and never left).

    I do understand not wanting to repeat too much. You have the newscaster’s dilemna; bad news makes for lots of posting, good news isn’t news (but that’s the way you want things).

    This last year you got an entirely new variety of bees for some of the hives, right? Having followed this for a few years, I seem to think that your rate of having hives survive was low, and then there was a total hive kill two winters ago in Snowmageddon, right? My impression from this post and some of your tweets was that this most recent winter was much better in terms of hive survival–is that right? How’d they do? Looks like you have at least one going gangbusters. I know you talked about one hive last fall that was on the handout plan; I assume that one didn’t survive.

    Oh, and now I’m remembering–did the tall hive come from a swarm that Neil captured? It would be awesome to hear about that, even second or third hand.

    Finally–and I know I often say this, but your photography is always awesome and it’s worth coming here just for that. I never would have that I’d see what are effectively maggots and feel warm and fuzzy and domestic about them. Your bee photography is fairly unusual in that I don’t think many people do that.

    Craig Steffen

  • I always enjoy the bee posts. And pictures.

  • Anne

    I also like the bee posts! They are so interesting, and the photos are great. I never thought I would refer to bees as “cute”, but they are.