A 3 lb. colony of honeybees inside their traveling bee box includes workers, drones and one queen. The workers and drones cluster together around the queen to keep her warm and pass along her pheromones or scent. Beekeepers feed and water them with a fine mist of sugar water while they are waiting to be hived.
This is a typical wooden queen cage. Here the queen (marked with a green dot on her thorax, indicating she was born in 2009 and also making it easier to locate your queen in a hive of 80,000 bees) travels with her attendants (females!) who groom and feed her. A sugar candy acts as a cork and will be eaten by her attendants and worker bees on the outside which will release her into the colony, an age old ritual.
Marina is pouring her colony of honeybees out of their bee box and into their new hive. The queen and her attendants are inside her cage which is hanging in the space between two of the frames. After all the bees are poured into the hive, she will place the last few frames into the hive and close it up. Any wandering bees will make their way into the hive before dusk by following their own queens pheromones.
Signs of spring! This is a worker bee gathering bright yellow morsels of pollen from a crocus. Note the huge ball of pollen she packs on to her hind legs- these pollen baskets are specifically designed for carrying pollen back to the hive while in flight. Her hairy body also naturally attracts pollen making the honeybee natures greatest pollinators.
Female worker bees gather to communicate information on locations of nectar and pollen sources to their sisters in the form of a waggle or round dance. These dances relay distance and location of these sources in relationship to the sun and their hive. Other worker bees observe these dances then leave the hive in search of the bounty.
This is a typical hive inspection to check the progress of a honeybee colony and to make sure the new virgin queen was successfully released from her cage. Here is a frame with capped brood, pollen and honey. This indicates the queen has been released, mated and has begun laying up to 2,000 eggs a day. Workers begin foraging for nectar and pollen to feed the growing colony and raise brood.
Here Marina removes the honey filled supers from her hives. Each super or wooden box holds 9 frames of honeycomb in total weighing approximately 60 lbs. Marina holds a smoker in left hand and hive tool in right.
These honeybees are on a frame of bees wax foundation and a pristine piece of white burr comb. When beekeepers remove the empty queen cage from the space between the frames, it is common to see pieces of burr comb that the bees make wherever there is more than three eighths inch of space left anywhere inside the hive. This space was named "bee space" by Reverend Lorenzo Langstroth, the father of modern beekeeping.
Close up of honeybees on a frame of honeycomb. Those orange colored cells hold bee pollen gathered from various flowers, the empty ones hold newly laid eggs by the queen. Charles Darwin described honeycomb, as a masterpiece of engineering that is "absolutely perfect in economizing labor and wax." Architecturally, the six-sided hexagon is the most efficient shape using the least amount of beeswax.
Marina is holding a deep frame from one of her bee hives filled with pure honey. The honey is placed inside the tiny bees wax cells by the honey bees and capped over with wax. Honeycomb is honey in it’s purest form and she calls it "the jewel of the beehive!"