Rilwanu sent me a message by using the ask a beekeeper part of this website. If anyone has a question let me know and I'll do my best to answer it. Rilwanu wrote:
How "do bees organize?"
Running a hive takes a lot of work. Just like humans, bees will work together to get their job done. Here are a couple of things that help keep them organized.
Hive Layout- A Place for Honey, Pollen, Surplus, and the Brood
Here are some photos of comb with different things stored in its cells. Can you see how the pollen is separated from the larva and capped brood. Each thing has it's own place.
Chores- A Family of 40,000 or 60,000 to Help Around the House
Each hive is made up of one very large family. As a family they have different responsibilities to help one another and care for the younger sisters and brothers. People have studied bees for hundreds of years and scientists still don't understand exactly how bees organize their hive. We are still learning how they work and stay so organized here are the basics of what we know:
Communication- Helping Your Sister Find Some Food
Bees have their own language that is very different from our own. They dance to tell others where nectar and pollen are, how much there is, and if it is high quality. Here is a short clip about the waggle dance. This bee is using it to tell others where a new home could be, but bees also use this dance to tell others where to get nectar.
Today I got to check out my bees and show them to my niece and nephews. My niece was a little scared ad first, but she was courageous and brave and got real close to see the bees working in the hive. She felt safe, wearing the veil. We saw brood in the larva and pupa stages, some pollen, and lots of honey. We even got to taste a little honey. Here is a letter my nephew wrote me after seeing all the bees. He wanted me to fill in the blanks like a worksheet.
Elijah, who is 5 1/2 sent me a message by using the ask a beekeeper part of this website. I think I have an interesting answer.
"Do bees sting each other on the back or something? I was wondering. I know what bees make -- they make honey!"
First a few facts:
There are a few bees, called guard bees that stay near the entrance to protect their hive from intruders. They inspect every bee that enters. They can smell the bee and tell if they are from this hive or another. If a bee from another hive comes to the door with pollen or nectar the guards won't stop them. It's like they are bringing gifts. If a honey bee from another hive comes with nothing the guards won't let them enter. Here a a photo of a the entrance on a busy sunny day. As the hive population grows, I may make the entrance larger, but that will mean they will need more guard bees.
If a wasp, bumble bee, or yellow jacket tries to enter the guard bees will not let them in either. They will release a pheromone or a smell to warn the others. It works a lot like a fire alarm warning people there may be a fire. Other bees will come out and attack. These insects may have been trying to rob the hive, by stealing their honey, the bees will attack. One day I found a dead Bumble bee in front of my hive. I wonder if he was trying to steal some honey.
It is not time to start harvesting honey yet, but It is still pretty interesting. My friend Evan sent me a message by using the ask a beekeeper part of this website. If anyone has a question let me know and I'll do my best to answer it. Evan wrote:
"I would like to know how you get honey out of a hive"
I'll post photos and explain more about how it works when its time to harvest the honey, but here is a short answer:
Here is a short video of a beekeeper harvesting honey:
Film by Tiger in a Jar
Staring at the dancing bees in an observation hive, it hits me. I love how these tiny creatures communicate. It looks like they're having fun dancing around while telling their sisters where to find some nectar.
Amanda's Sting Count
2013- 6 stings