Archives for category: Photography

Take a few minutes and watch this TED Talk. Anand Varma has some incredible imagery in his time lapse videos of a bee egg becoming a worker bee.

This talk discusses threats to bees, including Varroa Destructor mites. Look for more of Varma’s photographs in the May 2015 issue of National Geographic.

I’m happy to report that my single hive from the end of 2014 has survived the winter into 2015. Last week the weather was nice enough – above 15°C – that I could open the hive and see how the bees were doing. I’ve posted a few pictures below, and here is a general report on the hive’s health:

My hive is 2 deep boxes with both a bottom and top entrance. This colony was a swarm that I captured last year, which was from a swarm captured the previous year. So this lineage has proven itself over a couple winters. I did not wrap or insulate this hive. It was left for the winter as you see it in the first picture below.

When I approached the hive, I could see a few bees using the bottom entrance, but most were using the top entrance/ventilation that I had put in place last fall. After I opened up the hive, I could see the reason why the top entrance was more popular. The bottom board of this hive was covered with about 2 inches of dead bees (pictured below). The moisture levels in the hive were quite high and there was some mould on the bottom board as well. I scraped off all the dead bees into the forest nearby. I left the top ventilation in place to help control any moisture that was present in the hive.

There were still plenty of bees within the hive, and the top box was still quite heavy with honey. I may swap the boxes in a few weeks if I go back and things are still looking good.

I was quite happy to see that there were a few bees bringing pollen into the hive. This is a great sign of spring and it means that the bees have found flowers and food!

I will be keeping a close eye on this hive for the next few weeks. A couple years ago, excessive moisture in my hives led to chalkbrood, which I didn’t catch early on. I want to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen this year. Hopefully this colony will build up its numbers and perhaps I can split it and start a new colony. I will also be on the lookout for swarms around me this spring. I’m aiming to have 3 healthy hives going into winter this year.

Hive 2 deeps Top entrance on bee hive Bees in Ontario 2015 Honeybee survival 2015 Dead bees 2015 Ontario Bee survival rate 2015 Winter entrance bee hive

London artist Louis Masai has created some astounding street art depicting dying bees and strong messages such as “When we go, we’re taking you all with us!” and “No more bees. No more pollen. No more plants. No more animals. No more humans.”

These images are truly beautiful and I’m happy to share these images and raise awareness about the importance of bees and their direct impact on our existence.

For more of Masai’s artwork, visit his web site: www.louismasai.com

Louis Masai Bee Street Art Louis Masai Bee Street Art Louis Masai Bee Street Art Louis Masai Bee Street Art Louis Masai Bee Street Art Louis Masai Bee Street Art Louis Masai Bee Street Art Louis Masai Bee Street Art

Chris with a swarm of bees

It’s that time of year where bees are reproducing (at the colony level) and I’ve started getting calls about bees around Kitchener and Waterloo. I was contacted late last night by someone who was looking for a beekeeper in Waterloo. Lucky for all of us – including the bees – I fit the bill.

My friend Geoff and I both lost our bees to a long cold winter, so we jumped on the opportunity to rescue this swarm. We set out early this morning and shook the bees into a new hive box. With any luck, the bees will stick around and Geoff will transfer them to his bee yard in St. Jacobs.

If you see a swarm of bees in your area, please contact me using the form at the bottom of my swarm page. If I can’t rescue the bees myself, I will find someone who will.

Supersedure cells in a top bar hive

UPDATE: It turns out these were swarm cells and half of these bees swarmed on Aug 7. I didn’t expect them to swarm this late in the season, but I guess the swarm instinct was strong.

Yesterday, I inspected my top bar hive. It had been a week and a half since I last visited them. The colony is doing excellent aside from some slight cross combing that is happening at the back, in the honeycomb. The queen is definitely very active and thorough with a great laying pattern and signs of brood in all stages of development.

However, on three of the bars that I examined, I found open supersedure cells like the ones pictured above. They caught me a bit by surprise and I’m not sure why they’re there. I believe I saw at least one larva inside these cells, but it was very difficult to see inside.

I don’t want to remove them, because I trust that the bees know what they’re doing better than I do. Perhaps the queen is maimed or very old. Otherwise, this is an extremely healthy colony. Perhaps these are just empty cells to be used in case of an emergency.