The Buzz on Bees with Bee Butler Michael King ~ June 26th
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The month of June has been favorable for the bees who have seen the weather contribute to an increased bee population in the 4 hives , so much so that in hive #3 we have added an extra level of accommodation (called a souper) . In each souper are 10 ‘frames’ which house the traditional honeycomb design cells. In each of the 10 frames there are 7,000 cells meaning there are potentially 70,000 cells capable of holding nectar and pollen which in turn will metabolize into honey. When a souper is full of honey in it’s 70,000 cells it can weight close to 100 pounds !!
The queen is likely very busy at this time of the season laying up to 1,500 little baby bee ‘eggs’ a day !! These eggs hatch in a few days and look like grubs. They are fed a special substance called Royal Jelly for the first 3 days of their life then for the remainder of their life as a larva they are fed bee pollen from flowers brought in by the worker bees. The larva will spin a cocoon around themselves at day 9 and then take another 11 or 12 days to emerge as a female or ‘worker bee’ or in the case of the male bee or ‘drone’, about 13 days.
The Queen is intuitive enough to know when to fertilize an egg and when not to. If the cell is the standard 5mm in diameter across she will feel the sides of the cell with tiny hairs on her body and she instinctively fertilizes the egg . However the hive has to have some males to ensure future bee populations and so one in every several hundred cells are deliberately made larger by the workers when they construct the honeycomb cells to a diameter of about 6mm. When the queen places an egg in these cells she cannot feel the sides of the cell with the tiny hairs on her body and she does NOT fertilize these eggs which then develop into male or ‘drone bees” who are fatherless as they are only the egg of their mother and have no male genes.
So in a bees world the difference between a male and a female bee is a millimeter !! Amazing but true.
Learn more about our bees and #BeeButler at: http://bit.ly/beebutler