We peered into Camden’s bee hive the other day and I have to say that I am amazed at these wonderful insects. We watched them all week performing orientation flights to the hive. This is when they take off, fly in a tight arch and back to the hive again. If you ask anyone in my family, they will tell you that I have a deplorable sense of direction. Maybe this is what I should do; drive away then back to the house. Away and back in all different directions. I can hear the voice of reason in our family, John, pointing out; Mom, you realize you already do that and it hasn’t helped yet? I will never forget when I heard a small voice from the back seat asking; “Mom are you lost again? Should we start praying now?” My good friend made me feel better by saying; “Well girl, at least they know where to go with it.” Any hoo, back to bees.
We did have one problem with our new comers. Well, I viewed it as a problem. About 100 or so bees were hanging out on the screened bottom board since we introduced them to their new house. I was told this hanging around outside was normal, but I thought it was a little strange and counterproductive. I mean picture if my family moved to a new house and 3 of the kids just stood out on the front porch with their faces pressed against the screen door staring in. We would NOT view this as normal. I would open the screen door and tell those ding bats to come on in. “WE ARE HOME NOW!” So that is just what we did with the bees. Well, kind of, we removed the screen door.
We switched out the screen bottom board with a solid wood one. Problem solved. We will put the screen one back on in a week or so when it starts getting hot. Our flying friends like to keep their hive at a constant toasty 92 degrees. I know, they like it hot! No wonder bee keepers bring their hives down South for the Winter. Imagine keeping your house at 92 degrees when it is -18 outside. That would take a lot of little hot bodies!
We looked for the queen, but I think it is safe to say that we have queen identification issues. As you can imagine it is a difficult task to look through about 10,000 bees to find one shaped just a little different. So we don’t feel too bad. There are other signs that she is present; one being that there is recent brood(baby bee larvae) present. The other indicator that the queen is in the hive doing her thing is that you will see lots of bees coming and going with their leg pouches filled with pollen, to feed all those baby bees. This brings up an interesting question; How do the bees know where the best pollen is? Do they follow each other? We saw our bees doing a funky little disco dance on the landing board to the entrance. When we looked it up we found the answer to our questions. This dance they were doing was telling the other girls just where to go for food! Here is a short video that shows the science behind this waggle dance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFDGPgXtK-U This is fascinating! If you have kids go get them so they can watch too. So now every time my children ask me where a lost object is I state loudly; “Watch closely” and start wagging my bum and turning in circles. The younger kids get into the spirit of it and start waggling around the room also. My teenagers just roll their eyes in disgust and walk away mumbling; ” Am I actually related to these people?” hee hee. Let’s all do the waggle dance!
That is all for now. The bees are sucking down the sugar water buffet and being busy little bees. Until next hive update, happy gardening and bee keeping!