Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bee Hive Occupants

The bee hive is, of course, the home to a colony of honey bees. It also is the home to myriad other creatures, both beneficial and detrimental to the bees. Most are held to the edges of the hive by the bees that always defend their nest. Termites, which help make the cavities in dead trees that comprise the natural home for the honey bee, are a possible occupant of managed bee hives constructed of untreated lumber Tree cavities are often started by woodpeckers or chickadees and then widened by termites. If the tree cavity is large, honey bees may share it with woodpeckers or flying squirrels. Many insects live in a bee hive. The small hive beetle is a hive scavenger that entered the United States about a decade ago. The adult beetle is protected by a hard covering. Since the bees can’t kill the protected small hive beetles, the bees confine the beetles in “jails” that the bees build from propolis, or bee glue. The wax moth is another hive scavenger that regularly enters the hive. Strong colonies destroy the egg and larva stages of the wax moth. The larvae of wax moths eat the comb of weak hives. Other insects found inside bee hives include other beetles, like the lady bug beetles, native ants, fire ants, cockroaches, red wasps, yellow jackets, hornets, mud dauber wasps, and carpenter bees. Spiders, tree frogs, and mice are occasionally found in bee hives. On the outside, snakes, skinks, skunks, possum, and raccoons are regular visitors. Birds, like Eastern kingbirds, mockingbirds, purple martins, owls, and red-tailed hawks are common around bee yards.

The New York Times reported on caterpillars having images resembling threatening creatures. The piece, located at:, explains that the caterpillars evolved threatening appearances to protect them from predators. I find a spider under the cover of almost every hive. Click to see a spider, holding a honey bee. It carries an image of eyes and fangs on its back.

No comments:

Post a Comment