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Last week I was fortunate to be able to tag along with the new beekeeper who has placed more than 6 hives around the farm and sanctuary property. The Warré style hives that he uses are different from the ones we had before (see June 2013: http://www.anaturalpointofview.com/blog/2013/6/the-beehive-arrives ). They are designed to let the bees create the entire hive 'from scratch' (so to speak) as they would in the wild. A neat feature is that each box has a little covered window built into the side. You can unlatch the cover and take a look. Here's a close up of a hive taken through the window:
The Warré hives do not have hanging frames, instead the bees construct the comb starting at the top of the first box, working their way down, building a naturally vertical hive.
A stop at one of the hives reveals early stages of construction (above). It's cool to see the honey comb arrangement from which the bees will lengthen the hive. Comb construction detail:
The day I was with him, the new bee keeper added a third tier to a very productive hive. The bees had already filled two boxes. Here he is putting a third box in place beneath the first two:
A hive like this contains as many as 30,000-40,000 bees - maybe more. And to think that they all have the same mother! The Queen in a healthy hive can lay anywhere from 1,500-2,000 eggs a day. A queen bee can be productive for 2 to 3 years which is quite amazing when you think about it--all those babies from just one tiny insect. More detail photos follow.
Bees tending nectar:
Note the capped cells in this section of comb:
Beautiful bees through the window of yet another hive:
The Warré style hive was developed by Emile Warré (1867-1951) in France. He called it "The People's Hive". You can download his book "Bee Keeping for All" at this link -- and it's free to which I say, "Power to the people, and power to the bees!"
Keywords: bees, hymenoptera, insect behavior, insects
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