While we’re on the subject of honeybees, I was recently visited by a swarm!

I came home Tuesday to find a huge cloud of bees all around a magnolia tree by the garage. In less than an hour, they coalesced into a tight ball of bees about the size of a football.

Now, I knew from a lifetime of nature documentaries that honeybees are at their most docile and least likely to sting when they’re swarming. A this time, they are stuffed silly with honey, don’t have any young to protect, and can simply fly away to avoid predators. They’re cruising around with their queen, looking for a new place to build a hive.

I wasn’t worried about them hurting anybody, but I didn’t necessarily want them to take up residence in my garage or attic. So I did what anybody would have done in this situation. I made a Facebook post about it and then googled what to do.

Fortunately, a friend of mine works at the Stratford Ecological Center in Delaware, Ohio. She put me in touch with their Apiarist (beekeeper), who was simply ecstatic to hear that I had a stray swarm and that I hadn’t poisoned it (apparently, lots of people don’t know the difference between honeybees and wasps/hornets/yellowjackets/etc). We set up a time for him to come rescue the swarm, and he even called a couple of students up to share the experience. One of them had been waiting for over two years to go on a swarm rescue run.

He brought out a hive box with some already-combed frames. We cut down the twig the bees had clustered on and dropped it into the box, and they immediately began claiming it as their home. Detecting the wax comb on the frames and recognizing a good hive location, the bees started to emit a lemony “homing” pheromone, letting all of their sisters know to settle down here and start laying down wax.

We kept the hive box overnight to allow errant scouts time to return. He came back the next morning to pick up the hive and take it to a quarantine site, until he could be sure of the bees health and temperament. He even left us a little parting gift from the apiary at Stratford. Everybody kept saying what an absolute treat it was to find and save a swarm, and how rare it was to see them. Provided the hive is healthy, in a month or two, I could go up to the ecological center and visit my bees! 

With 40% of honeybee colonies in the US dying in the last year, every bee that can be saved is a small victory. It was a real privilege to witness this event and have a hand in finding a good home for the swarm.

If you see some swarming honeybees in the wild, call a beekeeper! They’ll be grateful to hear from you, and you’ll be doing some good for our pollinator friends!


An Extraordinary Glimpse into the First 21 Days of a Bee’s Life in 60 Seconds

In an attempt to better understand exactly what happens as a bee grows from an egg into an adult insect, photographer Anand Varma teamed up with the bee lab at UC Davis to film the first three weeks of a bee’s life in unprecedented detail, all condensed into a 60-second clip. The video above presented by National Geographic doesn’t include commentary, but Varma explains everything in a TED talk included below. The primary goal in photographing the bees was to learn how they interact with an invasive parasitic mite that has quickly become the greatest threat to bee colonies. Scientists have learned to breed mite-resistant bees which they are now trying to introduce into the wild. Learn more about it in this video:

via Redditthisiscolossal

Imagine: you’ve worked endless hours to earn enough money to buy food for your family. Your hours upon hours of work provide just enough for you and your family. All of you chip in, doing odd jobs and such. Then, someone breaks into your house, they knock you all out, and then when you wake up, all of the food you work so hard to get is gone. Left in its place is some measly food rations, just barely enough to keep you going (and maybe a small amount of the nutritious food you provided for yourself).

This is basically what eating honey does to honeybees. You’re stealing their natural food source and then saying that you’re helping. It’s then replaced with a sugar water mixture. Do people not understand how laughable that is? That is not a viable way to save the bees. In fact, honeybees, even ones kept by small business beekeepers, live shorter lives because their honey is perpetually taken from them. Their immune systems are half as good, and this contributes to CCD- bee gets sick-> infects other bees-> entire colony collapses.

This is an article about CCD 

And this is a post about how eating honey likely is a major cause of CCD not outlined in the previous article

Not only that, but people are so quick to say (incorrectly) that eating honey helps the bees that they forget that not all bees produce honey!! In fact, honeybees aren’t even necessarily the “best” pollinators. Much better ways to help the bees are listed in this link as well as a long explanation about why eating honey is really bad for the bees. 

Flowers you can plant to help bees

Ways to do your garden that helps bees

Bee waterers

And here are some sources:

source source source

wingardiumlindseyosa asked:

I feel so strongly over the fact that all of the bees who collected pollen in "the bee movie" were male or at least perceived as male. Like??? Worker bees at female and male bees (drones) do nothing but fuck the queen and have no stinger. They probably walk out on the morning after too.

fuckbees, like their human fuckboy counterparts, exist in numbers that put the entire worldwide bee population to shame.

lol but seriously tho, my comparing the two is hardly fair. for example, male bees are meant to be that way and what they do is necessary for the survival of the bee species as a whole and so are actually very important, whereas human fuckboys just choose to be assholes and are completely unnecessary and unimportant. so anyway, please be gentle with the bees; it’s not their fault that they don’t live up to our human standards.

tbh that is pretty fucked up tho how they made all of the pollen jocks (as i believe they were called) male bees now that u mention it. petition for a remake that does it all the right way. and send whoever made that stupid decision an angry letter for me

Here we can see the swarm begin to establish themselves in their new hive box. The workers immediately started inspecting and cleaning the old wax comb on the frames. Concurrently, they started raising their abdomens and releasing a homing pheromone, signaling other bees in the area to cease searching for a nesting site, land, and start building comb.

The bees were so primed to build combs that they started building some on the leaves they had swarmed on. You could see little flakes of shed wax on the leaves under their bee ball.

We were able to locate the queen off-camera. She looked healthy and ready to lay some eggs. All in all, an amazing and educational experience.

I just saved a bee. This lil’ guy was crawling in front of the fridge on the floor barely moving so I decided to try this thing I saw on one tumblr post and took a teaspoonful of water and added some sugar to it. I put the edge of the spoon under the lil’ guy’s head and it started to drink right away and soon enough after moving around a little it started buzzing and after that I caught it in a mug and released it outside. 

I thought I would never get to try that but seems like it really works.