Saturday, 6 June 2015

Day 215 - Buzzily Buzzy Neighbours - Bees Part 2

One of our new neighbours coming out of its new home
Hi all today's Day 215 and 4 days ago on Day 211 I covered Bees, mainly Honey Bees. I mostly covered the insect themselves not anything else about them such as the hive. Well, funny story. A swarm of bees decided to make their home on our house yesterday. :-) I thought that it would be a good opportunity for a post. So, I asked Dad to get some photos as I don't really like going near bees, especially where they are protecting something and they have a reason to sting me. They managed to find a hole that Dad hadn't repaired as we didn't know if we had bats using the roof. we don't think we have now but the hole hasn't been repaired yet!

And one on its way in.
My family thought through what we were going to do with it. There was always the possibility of extermination of the hive and bees but, as bees are a declining species, we eliminated that option. We settled on leaving them and just not going near them. That is good advice for anyone else that has a nest on their property. Unless, it's in a public place where lots of people will be going in a very close vicinity of it very often, leave it. I'm sure if it's in the entrance of a hotel or bank then just one or two destroyed hives wouldn't matter as they'd probably all die from stinging anyway.

Also, while I was at school doing science outside (we were covering shadows) some of us saw a huge swarm of bees fly straight across the playground. My Mum found a really interesting article on the BBC news website about bees and swarms. Here is the link.

BBC - Bee Swarms

I think that my new neighbours are Tree Bumblebees but today I'll just cover a little about bees in general.

 So, here are the facts on bee hives and swarms:

There's lots of food nearby at the minute
  • Mr. Hogg says that bee swarms are nothing to be afraid of as they are just looking for a suitable place for the hive. Weirdly, when I saw them, they were heading towards my house. Is there a connection? :-)
  • After the Worker Bees and The Queen have survived the Winter and the 10,000 to 20,000 are huddled together to keep warm. As it gets warmer, the colony expands leaving around 50,000 worker foraging.
  • The Queen, meanwhile is still laying eggs, making more workers and, eventually, drones as they died at the end of Summer. 
  • While all of this is happening, something quite special is also going on. Communication through pheromones. All bees have separate pheromones or smells meaning and doing different things.
  • The Queen's being the most important. It attracts all the workers to it and encourages them to build the comb, forage more and tend to the brood. The Queen is extremely important for their survival so they obey. If the Queen is not performing very well the workers will replace her.
    Tree Bumblebee ( Bombus hypnorum )
  • After a while there are so many bees that some won't receive the pheromones and, to them, is non-existent. They will then attempt to create a new Queen by doing the following:
  1. The Drones will mate with some Female workers an create some eggs. All the eggs will be identical but it will be fed Royal Jelly.
  2. After it hatches it will be as important as the original Queen (let's call her Queen 1) and will have to leave and give in to Queen 2.
  3. If she doesn't do this then Queen 1 and Queen 2 will engage in a battle to the death until one of them becomes the dominant Queen. Queen 3 if you will. 
  • As they breed more and more there won't bee (;-) enough room for them and some of them look for a new hive position (Queen 2 might get lucky and arrive when there is too much room and go with them).
  • The Queen is not a very good flier and will have to rest somewhere such as a post. It wouldn't be wise to approach this. Also, while this happens, scout bees will be sent out to look for a nest-site.
Here are some links to some more information: 

Expect a Part 3 and more over the next couple of days as I definitely haven't covered all about Bees yet. 

Hope you enjoyed,


1 comment:

  1. Lovely post - such sweet little insects! - Tasha