Sunday, February 21, 2010

Making a Bee Line!

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I was curious about the bees foraging in my backyard, and asked the Alameda County Beekeepers' Association if anyone knew if there were managed hives in my neighborhood. While nobody said, "I do! I keep bees two streets over from your house," I did get a message, introducing me to Bee Lining.

While I'd heard the expression "make a beeline" for something or other, I'd never really thought about what it meant.

It seems that when bees finish foraging, they fly back to their hives. They take a very direct route, with no stops along the way. They fly in a bee line to their home.

Back when processed sugar wasn't widely available, and people sweetened their food with honey, people understood that if they followed the bees, they could find (and harvest) the bees' hives. It was a good skill to have.

So, here's a link to a website teaching about bee lining. Basically, it involves giving the bees enough food (at a bait station) so that they fill up their stomachs, and fly right back to their hives. What you do is take a compass (or GPS) reading, based on the direction that the bees are flying. Then you set up another bait station, nearby, take more readings. And then you triangulate. Draw your lines on the map, and see where they intersect.

I think this is brilliant!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The bee looks like it made a Star of David- are your bees Jewish?

Maybe it's a Masonic star- hm- wonder what that means....

Annalisa

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