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.

DSC_0008

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

Honey Bee Update

bee in a pansy

Rare visit by bee to a pansy.

The side of our house smells like honey during the day this week and well it should as the bees are foraging like crazy. Flower choices are limited at this time of year, perhaps, that is why I saw a bee land on a pansy–bees aren’t attracted to this flower and it left after a few seconds. We keep my bee-attracting growth in one area–like heather and lavender.

Bee in heather

Now, this is more like it.

I took a shot of bees returning to the hive–note the yellow sac on the bee in the upper right–that’s collected nectar.

Nectar

Bee in upper left returning with a full nectar (yellow) sac.

Bees, birds and butterflies are responsible for pollenating more than a third of the crops in the world.

 

The Honey Bee Struggle

Honey bee searches for water in drought conditions.

Honey bee searches for water in drought conditions.

Reasons why honey bees are disappearing is a common research subject these days. Last month a new study suggested that poor nutrition is producing a less prodigious bee. A solution would be to provide bees with year-round access to pesticide-free plants, a dynamic not feasible in areas with cold winters. My California honey bees bask in the sun most of the year, only this year the lack of rain threatens to shorten the blooming season for drought tolerant flowers like California poppies and nasturtiums. The struggle continues.