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Posts Tagged ‘The Buzz about Bees’

The summer rains have arrived, much to the delight of the bees. Flowers are blooming and there is more pollen and nectar for them. I checked the hive this morning and saw this beautiful comb that they are building. Notice how light yellow it is, and glistening with honey.

New comb

Once the cells are full, the bees fan them to evaporate the liquid  to the right thickness, then cap it off.  The small orange dots are cells filled with pollen. Notice too, the shape of the comb. This is the natural shape that bees will make in the wild, which then explains the shape of the top-bar hive. The wax is produced by special wax glands in the abdomen that are extruded out through their abdominal plates as thin scales. Other bees pick up the wax scales, chew it with their saliva and then build the cells. It takes a lot of energy to produce and build the comb: about 16 pounds of honey to make about 2.5 pounds of wax.  This then will be enough wax to make over 100,000 cells…..and fill up a normal hive.

Wax scales

This amazing photo of the wax scales being extruded from a worker bee was taken by Helga Hilmann and is from the wonderful book “The Buzz about Bees” by Jurgen Tautz.

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