Monday, November 1, 2010

Baby Honeybee

Me in full bee gear.
Today I won't offer an activity to do with kids.  Rather, I have some photos I hope will be inspiring.

My father-in-law and I are backyard beekeepers. We got our first hive during the spring of 2009 and they've been humming along ever since. We're certainly not experts. In fact, more often than not, we're unsure of what to do. But those bees just keep doing what they do- raising young, caring for the queen, guarding the hive, and foraging for food. During our last hive inspection we watched an amazing sight- the emergence of a "baby bee" from her cell.

Luckily, I had my camera nearby so I caught it all on film. My cropping isn't perfect (and blogger won't let me line up my photos), but she's in the middle of each photo.

By the last photo, she has blended into the crowd. If I hadn't cropped the photo to put her in the center, you wouldn't have been able to find her. In fact, if I hadn't watched her emerge and made note of her location while taking the photo, I wouldn't have been able to find her, either.

Are any of you backyard beekeepers? Do you know any beekeepers? You might not even realize there's one next door to you. More and more city dwellers are keeping bees in rooftop hives.  Last weekend, I met a beekeeper from the Bronx (as in New York City!) 

Expect to hear more from me about bees in the future!


  1. This is so cool, Michelle! I have always had an interest in beekeeping and honey, and love reading anything bee related. And I've never seen a photo of a baby honeybee! I have a friend who has a honey company in Brooklyn--HiHat Honey.

  2. Wicked cool! When do we get our honey?

  3. Who knew honeybees would draw so many comments! I guess I need to post more about honeybees in the future. I'm glad you all enjoyed the photos.

    Gail, being novice beekeepers, we probably made some mistakes. Our bees swarmed, which means the queen left with 1/2 or more of the bees. The remaining bees raised a new queen and she began laying eggs. But, the result is a much smaller hive that spends its time making honey for their own food stores for winter. No extra for us! I'm bummed that we don't get any honey. As a Naturalist, though, I'm happy that we may have produced more feral bees. They swarm when they're strong, so I'm hoping they found a good place to live in the wild. We need all the bees we can get!

    Hot Cross Bunny, does your friend have a website or blog?

  4. Fascinating! Look how quickly she becomes just one of the crowd...!

  5. And then she's off to begin her duties as a worker bee with her sisters. (Literally, her sisters. All of the worker bees are sisters born from the same queen bee).

  6. Lovely photos, Michelle. Thanks for sharing them!

    All best,
    Loree Burns

  7. Thanks Loree. That means a lot coming from you!

    Readers, Loree is the author of the book Hive Detectives. It's a fantastic book about the scientists researching Colony Collapse Disorder- the cause of the drastic decrease in bee populations you've been hearing about. Please read it!