Monday, July 19, 2010

a little reunion

Remember from my previous post how I'd gotten the accidental honey harvest? Remember how there were lots of bees that died in that, but there were some bees that lived? Well, the bees that lived, I'd taken outside and put on my back porch, all together in this little jelly jar. I'd opened the jar and laid it in my giant wildflower pot, and just expected the bees to die out there, as they had no hive.

A few days ago I went outside on my back porch to water my tomatoes. I happened to glance down at the large pot and noticed a little cluster of bees - and they were all still alive. I remembered that when there is smoke in the hive, the bees take up as much honey as they can to sustain themselves, and that in fact, they can live for several days this way, without any other food sources. Oh yeah. I just hadn't expected them to live because of having no hive - but there they all were, about a dozen of them, all clustered together, keeping each other alive. I fed them some honey - they looked pretty thin and weren't exerting themselves at all - they were fairly still.  I needed to go out and check to see if the bees needed another box on the hive yet, so I decided to see if I could reunite them with their hive.

Later that day I went back outside, when I was ready to take them to the hive. They'd perked right up from that infusion of honey - they were flying and energetic and being bees. When I caught them in the little jar again, I discovered something else  - they'd been flying out and getting food for the group. Because I'd gotten them into the jar (with air holes punched in the lid) again, and one lone bee returned from her flight as I was about to take them inside. She had food in her mouth, and she landed on the lid of the jar - and then tried to get the food to her sisters through the hole in the top of the jar. I was just amazed - here this little cluster had no hive, and no colony - it was just these 12 little girls - and they were doing all they could to sustain and maybe even create a little colony of their own.

Here's what happened when I took them back to the hive:

I recommend clicking on the photo to see the larger sizes.

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