Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bee Hive Inspection

A springtime inspection of the bee hives reveals strong colonies with bees boiling over the top bars of the frames. While the late winter inspections found only a few frames covered with bees, now most hives have bees covering every frame. This is just what the beekeeper wants to see. Whether the hive is being managed for pollination service or honey production, a large population of bees is needed at this time of the year. It is actually quite a balancing act for the beekeeper to encourage the build-up of the bee population to great strength without causing overcrowding leading to swarming. Once the colony swarms, there is little chance of producing enough bees for commercial pollination purposes or for producing a surplus of honey that may be harvested.

In the picture we see the queen bee marked by red paint on her thorax. The paint helps the beekeeper identify the queen. I mark all of my queens and keep records on each ones performance. Click on the photo and you can see each stage of honey bee development. Above the queen there are eggs. To her right are c-shaped larvae in various stages of development. To the right of the larvae are the capped cells of the pupae, and further to the right are the empty cells where the adult bees have just emerged. Most of the bees in the picture are workers; the large bee to the right of the queen is a drone. This inspection revealed a most favorable bee hive.

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