Can You Spot the Queen’s Egg?

The queen bee must lay 1,500-2,000 eggs a day to keep the hive’s population growing. The video below shows the queen walking on the honey comb to find an empty cell to lay an egg into. You can see her sticking her head into the cells, she does this not only to check and see if there is already an egg in it but also to determine what size the cell is. Once she determines the cell is empty, she will then put her head in further to gauge the size of the cell in order to determine whether the cell is made for males or females.

The female (worker bees) cell is smaller than the large male (drone) cells. The ratio of males to females is regulated by the worker bees when building the comb. The mass majority of the cells are made for females with the male cells are found towards the bottom, outer-edges of the comb. Usually males comprise less than 10% of the population, each hive differs and can be as low as 1%.

The queen then sinks her abdomen into the cell and deposits the egg which has a sticky end that keeps the egg upright. In three days the egg will hatch and this will be the larvae stage, in the picture you can see the fresh laid egg in the center of the honey comb cell.


Bee Eggs Just in Time for Easter

So what’s happening in the hive lately?  The queens have been busy and their eggs are prepped and ready to hatch in just three days! Check out these intimate pics within the honey comb…

With spring well on it’s way, the hives are keeping pretty busy. As you can see below the queen has mated and started to lay her eggs. Notice the faint white markings, those are each an individual bee waiting to hatch. The queen will need to lay 1500-2000 eggs a day to increase the population of the hive, crazy fact: that is equal to her body weight!  Talk about a full-time job!
On the first day the queen’s eggs have been laid, they stand vertical. By the second day, they start to lean over and by the third day this is when the egg is completely horizontal and it will hatch to become new larvae.

The bright yellow and glossy/shiny bundles consist of pollen that the bees have collected on their daily foraging to feed the eggs. Each cell is saved for an individual pollen source. For example, on a daily basis bees will collect pollen or “food” from several sources like kale, broccoli, pine trees, and lavender. When they bring the “food” back to the hive, they will deposit the pollen in the respective cells, never cross-depositing. Isn’t that fascinating? What crazy little creatures. #savethebees

Garden Cocktails

With spring well on it’s way and gaining those extra hours of daylight, it’s time to spend more time out in the yard. My husband, Greg, and I love to have a lush garden full of fresh vegetables and herbs.

Having a variety of fresh herbs on hand is wonderful, especially if you like to cook or experiment with different flavors and recipes. An herb garden is something that you can easily plant in any sized yard and can utilize for so many wonderful things like cooking, cleaning, medicinal purposes, the list goes on. Plus, there is definitely a difference using fresh vs. dried that’s for sure.

Did you know that fresh herbs are wonderful enhancements to your favorite cocktail recipes or a great garnish for those non-alcoholic drinks such as lemonade and teas. Pictured here is what we like to call the “Melissa Special”. For all those grapefruit lovers, it’s a skinny version of a greyhound and makes for a perfect garden cocktail.

2 oz vodka
Sparkling water – I prefer lemon, orange or plain flavored
Ruby red grapefruit juice
Snip some fresh herbs from your garden and viola – you have a beautiful garnish and a boost of flavor taken right from your backyard!

We added fresh lemon verbena (on the right) and fresh mint (on the left). It boosted the flavors and added the perfect touch to an already tasty refreshment. The aroma of the lemon verbena quickly brought us back to summer while we enjoyed relaxing in the backyard with the pups.

Looking for other inspirations to add to your adult beverages? You can also add basil, lavender, lemongrass, and cilantro.  Cheers!

Spring Queening

With spring quickly approaching, it’s the most busiest time for bees and their beekeepers. The hives activity has been very “buzy” in the last few weeks as they work tirelessly to build their population in order to take advantage of the upcoming abundance of spring blooms.

Below you can see a queen cell that is being reared in a hive that is preparing to swarm. But why are they swarming you ask? Swarming is ultimate success of a hive. The bees have worked hard the past year in order to position themselves to create a new hive. The old queen lays new queen cells as she and the older bees leave to make a new hive, leaving behind a new queen and younger bees to continue operating the existing hive.

Did you know…that when bees are swarming, they are at their most docile stage. Don’t be afraid, they aren’t seeking to hurt or harm you. Should a swarm locate near your home, leave it undisturbed, they will soon leave but if they are a nuisance, pull up Google and search “bee keeping society” in your area. They offer humane, ethical removal services for these protected creatures.

The picture below showcases nectar collection. The nectar will fuel the bees for the spring season as they will need energy to feed on the bountiful spring blooms. The honey that has built up over the season will be collected at the end of the summer season.

Happy March 1st

Signs of spring are everywhere!  Especially in SoCal where we are basking in 80 degree temps. Makes me want to move my desk outside to enjoy these “winter” days.

It’s hard to believe that today we kickoff March! How have the first months of 2016 gone by so fast? Oh well, we will celebrate all that March has to offer. I mean who doesn’t love St Patty’s day? We sure do!

National Artichoke day, yup that’s in March (keep an eye out for a tasty recipe). And don’t forget we are only three weeks away from the spring equinox. That’s when we “spring our clocks forward” and extra hour of daylight in the evening. Can I tell you how excited that makes me?! I love having the opportunity after work to spend it outdoors chasing that sunset!

And the most important date of March…Gregory’s birthday! What shall we do to celebrate?