Monday, February 15, 2010

An update on the bees


Our friend Taylor is splitting her colony of bees, which means that at the moment we have hive "frames" parked inside of her hives. Eventually, her bees will lay eggs on our frames, and a new generations of bees will begin.

It was a warm sunny day today, so Taylor took the opportunity to check on her bees' activities. The bees are building comb on the wax foundation that we provided for them. This is a very good sign.

I'm really excited! Who knows? Maybe we'll have bees in March.

It seems that to me that every February since we've moved to California, there's a week of utterly glorious weather. Our pittosporum tree is blooming, and the neighborhood bees are all over it. If we sit quietly, and there's not much noise, we can hear the hum of honey bees. It reminds me of my childhood, laying on the grass, and listening to bees in the clover.

Do you notice how fuzzy these girls are? I think that means that they are very young. Apparently, bees loose their hair as they age. Check out those eyelashes! Who even suspected that bees had eyelashes? I find this totally charming. I doubt that bees can blink, and wonder at the purpose of those lashes.

Also, take a look at the big hunk of pollen on the hind leg of this bee. Honey bees have special hairs on their hind legs, which are perfect for transporting pollen back to the hive. This structure is called (inaccurately, but delightfully) pollen baskets. Pollen is a high protein food for the bees. They store it in their hives, along with the nectar they collect and turn into honey.

This is not a bee, but rather some kind of fly. It was also buzzing around the flowers on our tree. At first glance, it is very bee-like, but its eyes are quite different. I saw some kind of native bee (honey bees are European imports) today, but failed to get a photograph. Maybe another time.


Anonymous said...

Those small flies, like hoverflies and the like, are considered beneficial insects. :-)

Alientown, PA

Sue KuKu said...

That fly's head looks like a couple of pomegranate seeds.

How interesting to see these close up (as long as they are not moving in a video or around my head or in my house . . .)

who gets a little creeped out by insects

TaylorM said...

There are a lot of native bees that do resemble flies. I'm not a native bee expert, so I don't know what to look for, but I believe some of them live around here...

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

Here's a blog post that shows one of the bee-imposter flies (scroll down).

2007 said...

Yes, the 'fur' is interesting and the eyelashes are curious but what's amazing is the photography!! OMG Lisa, we LOVE that you share your incredible talent with us!



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