Bubble hive swarms.
|Click the thumbnails for a larger
This page operates ONE slave window.
A friend had a tinted plastic bubble laying around - i really don't know what it was originally from (nor what the marks on it are).
| I thought that the near catenary shape would enable
me to convert it - with the aid of an old macrame hanger - into a hanging
transparent (tinted) hemispherical top-bar observation hive.
|"A picture paints a thousand words" - i
usually just refer to it as my Bubble hive. |
These pictures were taken in the backyard of my shared rental accommodation in Christchurch, 300-odd km from Mt Elliot
tinted and mostly shaded, the transparent hive gets very warm in the sun,
and bee numbers built up very quickly in a sunny early spring.
|Although some of the original marks wouldn't
clean off (i stopped trying when i realised my cleaning efforts were
hazing the plastic) in most places it is easy to see the bees through the
close-up of the above photo through the bubble (autofocus camera even) it
is easy to see the hairs on the eyes of these young bees. The ocelli (3
simple eyes, arranged in a triangle) are easily visible on the bee at
bottom left. |
On the day of the spring equinox 2002, after an early prolonged spell of warm fine weather, i returned to find the bubble almost empty of bees, making the comb they had recently drawn visible (spot the queen cells).
|It didn't take long to figure out what had happened to the
|The hive had just about filled the bubble to capacity
so they swarmed, the queen and most of the workers departing to set up a
new nest elsewhere. The nearby lawnchair provided a staging post from
which to look for a suitable new nest site. |
|Not bad for such a small bubble! Recently swarmed bees are
usually quiet and tame, being filled to capacity with honey, and having no
nest to protect. The longer it takes them to find suitable lodgings, the
less this good temper can be relied on... |
|All of my normal hives (and beekeeping gear)
are kept some distance away, so in the meantime i put them in a cardboard
box. If only they knew those drums contained over 1/2 ton of honey!
|A couple of days later and the bees are
coming and going in good numbers. Bees bringing pollen in on their legs
are a pretty good indication that they have drawn comb and started brood
rearing, so it is likely that they have decided to stay put.
|The bubble still has some bees, and will be
raising a new queen from eggs laid before the swarm left.|
A few days after swarming, there are now two hives busily flying in the early spring sunshine.
Cursor following bees swiped from Jeff Davies site: Beekeeping the Natural Way using Oils and Herbs