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Beekeeping, Brood, Honey, Honey Bees, Latin Literature, Pliny, Queens, Swarms

Fenland Bee Artist Colony

 primum favos construunt, ceram fingunt, hoc est domos cellasque faciunt, dein subolem, postea mella,ceram ex floribus, melliginem e lacrimis arborum quae glutinum pariunt, salicis, ulmi, harundinis suco, cummi, resina.   Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, Karl Friedrich Theodor Mayhoff, Ed. 

Who are we to stand in the way of artistes?
I mean, I thought we had closed up every gap nice and tight.  But they do seem determined to express themselves, and we are beginning to think that we should just let them (not really, but it does seem such a shame to dismantle these works of art).

Praise the Lord and pass the smoker!
Screwed up our courage a couple of weeks ago to go in with smokers blazing (we never seem to be able to get the darn thing to work right), preparing for bad news.  Those of you hanging on my every word might remember that we were at a pretty low point at the end of June after our swarmy May:  no queen, no brood, not much in the way of stores.  It was looking pretty grim, just like a scene out of a Dickens novel.

But wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, this is what we saw:

Main hive:   Hallelujah!

Obviously disciples of Gehry

Obviously disciples of Gehry

Brood box:  full, 7-8 frames of brood, 2-3 stores. Frames did have a fairish amount of brood cells at bottom, queen cups, but in general good brood in various stages. Brood not as nicely patterned in some of the mankier frames in the middle, but better looking on new outer frames.  Half a super of honey (2 supers on)So there is a queen, who is laying, over 30K bees, drones defintely not obviously present in colony, in a fairly good mood.

And can I get an Amen!

It's not pretty, but it's fine by me

It’s not pretty, but it’s fine by me

Swarmy hive:
Brood box full:  7-8 frames of bood in various stages. However starting from outermost frame on right (other side 2 outermost frames stores).  Had same pattern of drone cells at bottom of various frames.

No build up in super, frames barely drawn out.

Thank you Jesus and Bee Goddess!

So good laying queen, small colony though, has it reached 30K?, fairly good mood, drones not obviously present.

I can’t tell you how relieved I am.  I was almost ready to give up, figuring we had a good run.  It just goes

The outermost frame. They seem a bit confused wth what it is for-stores or brood. Not surprising, they have never touched the outer frames before!

The outermost frame of swarm-y hive. They seem a bit confused wth what it is for-stores or brood. Not surprising, they have never touched the outer frames before

to show if you leave them to their own devices, they know what to do. And what I liked the most is that they looked so healthy, and temperament-wise seemed pretty mellow.  No need to resort to new queens etc.  They build their own!

First of all, they set about constructing their combs, and forming the wax, or, in other words, making their dwellings and cells; after this they produce their young, and then make honey and wax from flowers, and extract bee-glue1 from the tears of those trees which distil glutinous substances, the juices, gums, and resins, namely, of the willow, the elm, and the reed.

The Natural History. Pliny the Elder. John Bostock, M.D., F.R.S. H.T. Riley, Esq., B.A. London. Taylor and Francis, Red Lion Court, Fleet Street. 1855.

Now, riddle me this, photo taken last week (warning: you may have to click on this to appreciate the sheer trapeze artistry):

Not to be outdone by their sisters in the main hive, performance art perhaps?

Not to be outdone by their sisters in the main hive, performance art perhaps?


6 thoughts on “Fenland Bee Artist Colony

  1. Do you need to change the colour of the hive to circus colours as they certainly have the knack of hanging off each other and a flair for shape. So it would seem you have a sculptural hive and a performance hive – that’s pretty amazing. Nice they seem to have got it together, perhaps they picked up on your vibes in May….long may their good run continue.

    Posted by Jo | August 7, 2012, 2:29 pm
  2. How fantastic, we may have had a crappy summer, but your ladies seem very happy and wonderfully artistic. Ain’t nature marvellous!

    Posted by Nicole | August 7, 2012, 7:31 pm
  3. Bee lover here, but definite novice. What are the super-structures for? Do they disapear in the rain?

    Posted by Kitty | August 8, 2012, 9:15 am

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