10th August 2010
What better way to spend time off than to watch hundreds of others working? After several months of faffing, our Glass Bee Hive is officially up and running, and stuffed with busy honey bees.
The colony wasn't happy with our first attempt, which was in the shape of a conventional hive, and never settled. Undeterred, Barrie (joint owner of Rare Breeds and head hive architect) redesigned the whole thing. It is now shaped to imitate a natural bees' nest in a hollow tree, or wall cavity. The workers are gradually figuring it out, and are starting to bring pollen back.
The big question at the moment is whether we have a queen. The colony arrived with several unhatched queen cells, but all that has been seen of an actual queen was a dead one, being carried by workers a few days ago. This (hopefully) means we have a live queen somewhere that killed her rival. If that is the case, she should soon leave the hive to mate, and will then begin to reproduce. The colony will then be established.
They really are a fascinating lot, and are on full display to anyone who wants to come and see them hard at work.