Friday, April 17, 2009

Swarm Update

Glenn and I (with help from Grammy, Oliver and Owen) opened up the new hive today and were pleased to find the swarm bees busy at work. I have been reading "Beekeeping for Dummies" and found the inspection much more interesting with the information I picked up from the book.

We observed drones in the new hive. The drones are male bees and are pretty much worthless except for their mating abilities. They are easy to spot (when you know what you are looking for) because of their large eyes and large bodies. Did you know that the male bee dies after mating with the queen? His member gets stuck inside the queen during the act and then he falls to the ground to die. I circled a drone from our new hive (hive two).

Our new queen has been busy laying eggs. You can see a nurse bee tending to the eggs in the picture below. Can you believe the bees have done all of this in five days? Bees are excellent creatures.

Our old hive (hive one) seems to have less bees than the new hive, but appears to be healthy and increasing in numbers. Here is a picture of my nephew Owen checking out hive one for the first time.


  1. Ok, I have been following your blog very closely. I am fascinated with raising bees. And its an oxymoron because, I have had a serious phobia of bees ever since I was young and got stung 5 times. From that point on, If I would even see a bee, I would literally do a 180 and walk around the block, the bee can have the street.

    But As I grew older and especially as I became a little wiser I began to understand how important the bees are. So call it having a big heart or whatever, I don't know. All I know now, is, that one day I want to take care of bees as long as Im suited up like an astronaut. I figure If I can jump from a high performance aircraft wearing a full combat load while being deathly afraid of hieghts I can raise bees.

    So im going to give myself approximately 2 years to learn what I can, join a local bee club, finish up some odds and ends and then I will be in a position to get my first swarm. OMG!! I can't believe im saying this.

    BTW.. Glenn your either really Courageous or really Crazy. DUDE!!! My wife and I were watching the video of you scraping the swarm away and she started itching all over. LMAO!! And I was like OMG!! But I think it's awesome. You guys have a great site and thank you for keeping posts that are funny and informative. I don't know what they say in the bee world but Happy Bee Keeping:)

  2. That is wonderful! Thanks for sharing your findings. I'm not in a position to keep bees, but I'm beekeeping precariously through your blog. Thanks so much! I Love your blog! Oh, I think I said that before ;-)

    p.s. thanks for circling the drone and pointing out the eggs for people like me, who need a little extra help :-)

  3. What awesome photos! Whatever camera you're using is great. It's our dream to keep bees someday (maybe next year?). I learned so much just from reading this post!

  4. So cool! Thanks for sharing your photos and information.

  5. Lovely photos and great blog. I have kept bees for 3 years now, in an urban situation which works really well. It is autumn (fall) here in NZ and my bees are still out and about. We don`t have really cold winters where I live, so the bees can forage most of the year.

  6. Hi I posted my comment above under what I thought was my blogger account and it is my daughters !! She is 17 and definately not into bees !!

  7. I love your photos. The egg is there and you have to focus your eyes for a moment in order to see it.

    I chuckled when I learned that the male drone dies because once he connects with the queen in mid air he flips back and his male reproductive organ (I thought it would be more PG to use those words) actually snaps, killing him.

  8. ATW -
    Sometimes I feel like I have to be suited up like an Astronaut just to live here in Southern Georgia. For some reason, the mosquitoes here are super hyper "attack mosquitoes" and are all after ME. I'd rather deal with bees than mosquitoes. At least bees don't want anything from me, but rather the other way around, right?
    (I'm still trying to find a way that I might be able to do some beekeeping, like on someone's piece of land that they're not using...)

  9. Doris--- OMG!! I feel the same way. The Mosquitoes are a mess and it doesn't help that my neighbor has a pond in the backyard. They are trying to fix the problem but for now the vampires are breeding like rabbits and feeding off of me and my wife. It hurts so bad to garden. ANd BTW if you were close enough us, I wouldn't object to you beekeeping on our property.