Honey War Survivor

DSC_0031 - Copy (2) - Copy.JPGFor now it appears that the  honey bee “robbers” have been repelled by the bees that “adopted” the hive more than two weeks ago. Access to the hive is still limited to a narrow entrance. The hive, itself, is full of buzzing during the day and pollen is coming in, not going out.  This photo was taken shortly after a battle–note there is loose pollen behind this bee. The bees have since cleaned the area.

Honey Bees Fight to Protect the Hive from Robbers

DSC_0004 - Copy (2).JPGA week ago our backyard hive, abandoned five months ago, was back in action with honey bees( foragers) returning with full pollen sacs all day long.  I take photos of a new hive frequently to spot potential problems, or to document positive signs of development. Two days ago I took a shot of two bees fighting at the entrance to the hive. Sometimes bees from other hives will try to rob honey from a newly formed hive. Yesterday, I noticed the bees were entering the hive single file at one narrow spot, a sign that the entrance had been blocked to prevent robbers from coming inside. Stay tuned.

Bees Conversing…And More!

bees talk.jpgHere’s a list of possible conversations that these two bees are having at the entrance to their hive…and only one is correct:

  1. “Who’s the guy with the camera?”
  2.  “It’s a jungle out there.”
  3. “Quitting time.”
  4. “I don’t know, what do you want to do?”

Number 3. Our bees call it a day between 4 and 5 p.m. in June. There might be a few foragers coming back late, but for the most part, the collecting of pollen or water is finished for the day.

Added note: Our bees “absconded” last December, that is, they abandoned the hive after five years. I removed three of the four hive boxes, leaving one in place. About a week ago I noticed a handful of bees removing debris from the remaining hive. Three days ago hundreds of bees swarmed around the box for about five minutes–the queen had arrived. I hope they’re here to stay.


Our once abandoned hive was filled with honey bees again this week.

The Watchful Bird…


Our backyard honey bees face daily threats, not least of which are birds who sit on a fence by the hive and wait to pick off a bee that might fly by. Took this shot around 5 p.m. yesterday, about a half-hour past quitting time for these hard working bees. There wasn’t much traffic, so the birds left.


Our four-level high hive faces a fence where birds often perch.

There’s a Bee in My Ivy!

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There’s a bee in my ivy and, in fact,  there are millions of bees at this time of year in ivy along the Monterey Coast. Our backyard has been no exception, especially since the ivy blooms are next to our hives. The monarch butterflies are due to arrive in a few weeks, but from the looks of things, the bees have a big head start on collecting nectar from the ivy flowers. While ivy can be an invasive vine, it remains the main food source for honey bees at year’s end.