Share this post: [sociallinkz]
Everyone, I am posting a portion of a new book I am writing. Please give me feedback on what else you would like to learn.
Honey Bees (scientifically called Apis Mallifera) are social creatures. They have a typical social class setup. We have the worker bees, Drones, and the Queen.
Worker Bees are tasked with building the comb, collecting the food, tending to the queen, and guarding entrances to the hive. They are also females. Any female that is not the queen will be a worker.
Drones have a specific purpose to them. They are the males, so they are tasked with mating with the Queen. This is basically all they do. Boy, they got the good life.
The Queen holds the genetic disposition for the colony. The way to change genetics of a colony is to change the queen. Eventually, the new genetics take over in the whole colony.
Bees are pretty easy to obtain. They can be collected in the wild, or even purchased different ways.
If you find an insane amount of them are around an area, chances are you have a swarm. This could mean that the bees are outgrowing the critical population of the hive, or the queen is sick, dying, or dead, and they are looking for a new place to colonize.
They are capable of being captured easily by calmly and gently scraping them off of a flat surface into a box or puffing smoke behind them. They will naturally fly away from the smoke, which will be where you have strategically placed your box. Then you just gently drop them into the hive that you have built for them. You could also cut the branch of a tree that they may be swarming at the base and gently shaking it into your box.
You could also buy bees. This may be the best way to go if you are new to beekeeping, since there is a little less chance to dealing with disease or aggression of wild bees. There are different ways of obtaining a hive through purchase: Packaged Colonies or Nucleus Colonies.
Nucleus Colonies are actually what it sounds like packaged colonies should be. Nucleus Colonies are an existing established colony sent to you. There really is no way of knowing the health or age of the colony or queen though.
Packaged Colonies are usually a good way to go since the different bees are hand selected. When a packaged colony comes to you, there will be a queen and multiple workers with a sugary food source to keep them alive. Typically the queen must be introduced to the workers, since most packages have bees selected from different hives. There are two ways the queen is introduced to the colony, and you will order the colony this way. They are direct and indirect.
Direct introduction is simply put that you will place them all together. Most the time, the workers will not know the queens scent, and will try to kill her as an intruder, but on the slight off chance the bees will accept their new queen, they will begin constructing their new colony right away.
The Indirect method is really neat, in my opinion. The queen is basically encased in a hard candy shell. When the workers try to attack her, they have to go through the pleasant candy to get to her. They will basically just eat their way to her. By the time they get to her, they will grow accustomed to her scent and will accept her as their queen. Although you have to wait for them to eat the shell from the queen, the rate of acceptance is much higher, making it worth it.
Enter the challenge for: