bees, honey and other sticky subjects

Friday, April 16, 2004

Swarm diagnostics

I have great fun not being able to spot a queen bee amongst tens of thousands of workers when I really need to. Maybe I should call upon the observational skills of this Japanese environmental health officer who explained the cause of a large swarm of bees over a building site in central Hiroshima:
Two queen bees appeared at one beehive in the area during the winter and one of the queen bees, accompanied by many other bees, decided to leave on Thursday, Yoshida said.
He's one ace of an observer! Or maybe it was just a bad translation.

(For non beekeeping readers: It is extremely unusual to see one let alone two queen bees “appearing at one beehive”. A queen leaves the hive only a few times in her lifetime — a few times to mate and once to swarm. To see two queens “at” a beehive would be extraordinary. He probably meant to say that the workers raised a replacement queen thereby forcing the first queen to leave with a swarm since two queens will rarely co-exist in a colony.)


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