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postheadericon How To Be A Beekeeper - The Life Of The Bee In Summer

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In about midsummer, a busy, well kept and well organised hive will often approach a crisis point. 50,000 or so workers have brought back to the hive large quantities of nectar and pollen, and all vacant cells are overflowing.

The Queen has increased by many thousands the number of her brood, and now finds herself encroached upon, and pushed for space in her domain. The combs are fully occupied, and the hive is crowded to the point where the "fanner" bees are finding it all but impossible to ventilate the hive properly, and returning bees are reluctant to enter the hive and add to the chaos.

Within a week a freshly hatching brood will add to the congestion. Something must be done, and done quickly. For in the world of the bee inactivity (except in winter) is unheard of.

So the bees prepare to swarm. Those bees which are to remain with the hive must have a Queen to raise the new colony. The original Queen will go with the swarm. However, in the way of the bee, many new Queens are prepared, to cover any eventuality. The workers construct special cells by sacrificing other cells around them. These special cells are larger, with thicker walls.

Into these cells the existing Queen lays eggs which in the normal course of events would produce worker bees. However, the nurse bees feed these eggs with richer food, and more of it, enlarge the cells more as the larvae grow. Until the cells are capped, with the new virgin Queens emerging in a week.

Meanwhile, the old Queen becomes increasingly restless, and the old order of things begins to break down. The temperature rises to a point where things are all but intolerable and the bees swarm from the hive. When the Queen leaves the hive and settles in some nearby tree or bush the bees cluster around her. This is the time that the beekeeper, if he has been watchful, can gather them up and transport them to a new hive to start anew. Otherwise, within a short time scouts will have found a new permanent home, and the swarm will be lost.

The original hive, now depleted by more than half, now returns to it's life as though nothing had happened. A few days later the strongest of the new Queens-to-be lets it be known that she is ready to emerge. She cuts the capping of her cell and emerges. Her first act is to feed voraciously upon the nearest honey cell. She then devotes her attention to her sisters, finding all the other Queen cells, ripping them open and killing her rivals. If she is not quick enough, or is not allowed by the other bees, she will wait to fight to the death any other potential Queens that may emerge. Failing that, she may abdicate her position and join an "after-swarm". The bee law remains intact. "One Queen, one kingdom" (probably should be Queendom really).

Chris Haycock is a successful information publisher with many hobbies and interests. One such interest is the fascinating world of beekeeping. If you would like to find out more you should go to

Article Source: How To Be A Beekeeper - The Life Of The Bee In Summer

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