Virgin white comb being built naturally off a top bar.
3. Side view of nest
A view of the nest through the top bar window. You can see the round shape of the nest as a whole.
4. The Colony
A view from the back of a top bar hive.
5. Inside the nest
6. New Comb
An example of bees building new comb.
7. New Comb chains
Bees chain off each other to form the shape of the new comb they will be creating. Here we see multiple loops for new comb on one top bar.
8. Natural Comb 2
The shape of natural comb as it has been expanded on. You can see the original formation in a "U" or heart shape when held to the light.
9. Langstroth Wax foundation
Bees building off wax and wire foundation. If you need to use foundation, find wax sheets as opposed to plastic.
10. Honey Stores
Another example of honey stores, capped for winter.
11. Drone, Queen, Female
Photo from Top-Bar Beekeeping from Les Crowder
Larger, wider abdomens. Larger eyes.
Drones have no singer.
Drones are permitted to go between colonies, thus providing a species-wide communication network through scent and touch.
A colony overrun with drones is an indication that the queen has died and you have a laying worker who can only produce drones.
Drones mate with queens from different hives, thus spreading genetic diversity.
After a drone mates, he dies.
Drones are removed/kicked out of hive in the fall when nectar flow diminishes and the colony decreases in size for winter.
Drone cells size is slightly larger than female bee cell size.
12. The Queen/The Mother
• Larger, longer abdomen than sister bees.
Raised in a queen cell and fed only royal jelly to indue the hormonal changes that will make her a queen.
• She is the fertility of the hive. She can lay up to 2000 eggs per day during peak season.
• Often more than one queen is raised at a time and the first queen to hatch stings the other potential queens to death in their cells. If two queens hatch at the same time, they will fight to the death. It is rare, but occasionally two queens can coexist in the same hive.
Her Virgin Flight occurs when she is between 5 and 20 days old
Possesses a stinger, but does not die when she stings.
Has the power to fertilize an eggs or not, but the worker bees offer the suggestion based on cell size.
13. Queen Cell
A peanut shaped queen cell
14. Queen Cups
16. Maiden Bee
17. The Sisterhood/Worker Bees
The Sisterhood/Worker Bees
Daughters of the Mother and sisters to one another. The sister bees do everything in the hive.
As the guards and protectors of the colony only the female bees have a stinger. When she stings she dies.
Live 4-6 weeks in the spring/summer and a few months in the winter.
First flight is around 8 days after they hatch.
Can fly up to 8 miles in search of forage, but prefer forage close to home.
A foraging bee will collect 1/4 tsp of honey in her lifetime.
19. Pollen Lady
A pollen rich maiden carrying home nourishment
20. Developmental Roles of Sister Bees:
photo courtesy of Serge Labesque
21. Swarm 1
A swarm - an act of birth.
22. Apple Tree Swarm
A secondary swarm, much smaller than a typical swarm.
23. Swarm in Hawthorne
A very large may day swarm from a potentially displaced hive.
24. Catching a swarm
Encouraging bees to enter into a makeshift swarm box from their cluster on a tree. bees for chains to help guide their sisters in.
25. Package of Bees
packages come in mesh cages with 3-5 lbs of bees. They need to be installed right away. It is an artificial way of making a colony or swarm. The queen is inside the package within her own queen cage.
26. Pollen and Honey
A great example of pollen stores and honey stores side by side.
27. Nectar and Honey
Above you see white capped honey. Below is unripened nectar. Once the nectar has ripened into honey the bees cap it with wax and store it for later use.