HOW BEES ATTACH FERAL COMBS TO THEIR NEW FRAMES!
Hey everyone, as most of you that follow me know I save bees regularly, this can be a rather arduous but very rewarding task. I have made many posts on our actual removal on site, but few of us actually re-hiving the bees, we achieved that here but sadly they absconded, however not in vain!
I have included a few pics from a swarm which we rescued around 3 months back, sadly this was a small swarm and albeit them starting to establish themselves nicely they decided for some or other reason to leave.
The reasons for swarms absconding are vast. From parasites, hive beetles, wax moths, ants, low pollen or nectar in the area, too hot/cold or more.
This below picture is fascinating, here I attached their combs from their feral home to the bottom of a frame. They then built from the top down (as they do) and joined the combs, Incredible!
The top lighter comb is the new part they have then joined to the below darker combs. Ligher combs are always newer than darker combs, the darker the comb the older it is!
The integration they were able to achieve was just sublime, they moulded the old comb to the new with seamless precision!
Generally what I have learnt with absconding swarms is they are too small to establish themselves in larger hives (all our hives are standard 'Langstroth') hives read more on the design as per wikipedia here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langstroth_hive
It is never nice having a swarm leave but we learn a lot from this activity and in the long run good for science, education, learning as well as for the bees, as we can impart this knowledge and our learning's and lessons to others.
These pics are great examples of what can be learnt from bees in terms of their highly effective engineering skills. When we rescue a swarm at times we sadly do not get the Queen Bee, this can be for a plethora of reasons too, but mainly because we suck up, up to 98% of the bees to be re-hived that 2% odd left behind may contain the Queen. Another reason we may not have captured the Queen is possibly we injured or killed her in the process or there may just not have been a Queen in the old swarm.
In the event of a Queenless swarm bees actually 'manufacture' a new one. In order for them to do so they first need to make a Queen Cell Cup which is approximately double the size of a normal worker cell.
Here another very interesting article with pics of the process of making a new Queen Bee https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_bee
Here we have a Queen Cup, spot the difference between the normal comb?
Here we have a pic of these ingenious little creatures and their masterful engineering. I originally put their feral comb back into the new hive for them to rebuild, they did exactly that, how incredible they are. Here they joined two combs with ease. I attach these combs into the new frames with rubber bands. Once the bees have re-attached their combs to the walls of the frames they chew off the rubber bands and collectively work together to remove and extract the rubber bands from the hives!
Here you can clearly see where they have joined the rubber band fastened comb to the top of the frame, once they are fully secure bees chew off the bands and extract as previously mentioned!
This below pic is an excellent example of how incredibly well bees engineer their combs. The top part is brand new which took them around 2 weeks to build. You can see how they joined their new lighter comb to the darker comb I installed in their frame with rubber bands.
You can also see a few rubber bands hanging. The bees have chewed these off as their comb has now been secured. They will work as a team to extract these rubber bands as they do not like any foreign bodies in their hives. Bees are incredibly hygienic creatures and the best housekeepers, these pics a testament to that!
This was a new brooder frame that I put into their hive without feral comb. This is how they start building their combs in their new frames and carry on doing so until the frame is full. As soon as they have combs they begin filling these up with nectar and pollen, they do not wait to fill the combs they begin as soon as there are cells completed and continue to build and fill the combs consecutively!
Here I took some pictures of bees and their incredible 'artistic ability' different pollen from foraging differing species of trees and flowers!
Art does not get too much better than this and they didn't even try to create beauty, it just happened!
My goal and ambition in life is to create awareness and understanding of the importance of the 'simple honey bee' to our very existence on this planet. I trust that I am able to achieve that or die trying.
Be sure to stay tuned for more of me epic bee-keeping adventures!