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  • Kathryn Allard

Bee Adventures - Part 8

August 11, 2020

End of day, after dinner.

18 days have gone by since my last full inspection. Doing them at the end of the day is not ideal, because the sun is lower, bees are not out and about foraging and not as active. Plus, by the time I am finished, it’s almost 7pm.

The 10 honey supers were crawling with bees at about 50%. There were very slight signs of comb being built. I was a little dissapointed and had to reason myself that these little workers need time to build comb by chewing the wax flakes from their abdomen and then molding them... never mind the time it takes to fill them with honey before fanning the excess moisture away and getting it just right and ready to cap with wax.

Which got me thinking... Will they have time to do all this before winter ?

What if the frames in the brood box are not full enough before the cold months ahead ??

I took off the honey super and set it aside on the ground, being careful not to crush any bees underneath. Next time I will position 2 narrow pieces of wood, and set the box diagonally so it rests only on four small areas, instead of the wholebottom of the box on the ground.

Anyhoo... The frames of the brood box were jam packed with bees. There was no burr comb at all on top, meaning they are using everything inside the frames. I have absolutely no idea how they all fit in there ! There’s hardly any room to move; how do they know who does what, what needs to be cleaned, capped, filled, fed...

An impressive amount of festooning was going on; the most I have ever seen. The bottom of the frames are full of bee ladders, hanging on to each other by their tiny feet. I saw a few supercedure cells, but nothing alarming. I closely looked at some new black frames and saw only a few larvae and eggs. I think they concentrate in the middle frames, where the warmth is and where the queen bee hangs out. As the bees hatch, the cells are cleaned for the queen to lay again. If a queen can lay 1400 egs a day, that’s a lot of house cleaning!

Hatching times:

24 days for drones (bigger cells)

21 days for workers

16 days for queens

Imagine this : The queens can lay drones (males) or workers (females), at will.

Yup. Males or females, as the queen so desires. Incredible.

The eggs look like a grain of rice, standing up in the cell, then lays flat before being fed protein and hatches on day three into a larvae. It is fed about 1000 meals a day of royal jelly, then a honey and pollen mix.

On day 5, the larvae is 1570 times larger and the worker bees seal the cell with wax. The larvae spins a cocoon around it’s body, and grows into a pupa.

And magically, on day 12, a full ground bee emerges from the cell. I hope I see that one day...

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