Monday, April 6, 2015

It's Spring - Bee Biology

This post is not sewing related at all. If you are squeamish leave NOW! You've been warned.

It's that time of year when insects will soon be upon us. I for one loathe insects especially bees. I'm allergic to bee stings and avoid them at all costs. We've had a bee problem for a few years now and it was not until all the leaves fell from that trees in that Fall that I understood why. There was a huge bee hive in a tree that was just a few yards away from the front of the house. I'm always armed with insect spray but I don't want to be bothered at all. After pleading with my husband several times to get rid of the hive so that the bees wouldn't come back (my pleadings fell on death ears) I used a 21ft golf ball retriever to knock the hive down.

I wouldn't say I'm adventurous as much as I am curious. I ripped the hive apart and imagine my shock when I realized the hive was full of bees and they were actually in some state of hibernation/cocoon. So...the bees don't come back every year...they never leave! YIKES!

This is what the hive looked like when I first knocked it down.

The solid white area is a fully "cocooned" bee. There's one bee per hexagonal cell. If you look closely you can see part of bees protruding from the individual cells.

This was a bee I pulled out of one of the finished "cocoons."

This is a bee I pulled from one of the unfinished "cocoons."

This is a cross-section of the hive. Full of bees in the "cocooning" process!

Are you wondering what happened to the hive after I dissected it? I put lighter fluid on and burned it and a small portion of the grass to a crisp! I think my bee problem is solved and I had a lesson in bee biology at the same time! I promise my next post will be sewing related. LOL


  1. Don't kill the bees! With all the problems with colony collapse right now, beekeepers need every living colony saved. Without bees, there would be no flowers or vegetables, because nothing would be fertilized. You could easily have found them a new home far from yours.

    1. Caro, I agree with you. If that was a bee hive, I saw no wax.

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  2. this was just great - and so glad you did not suffer a sting in the process

  3. These look more like wasps than bees...the paperlike cells instead of beeswax combs.

  4. Are you kidding? I never would have touched that thing.

  5. Those are paper wasps of some sort... not bees. Bees make hives with combs made of yellowish wax and mostly full of honey, paper wasps chew up wood and make nests that look like cardboard hexagons, sort of like honeycomb in shape, but not full of honey. I never knew that they remained in the nest in the wintertime

  6. That is not a beehive. Maybe a hornets' nest of some kind, although it being open in design I guess it might be "paper wasps". The gardening site said they were "Insect predators" and beneficial in that they eat plant-eating caterpillars and corn-ear worms, pests like that. But they still attack people sometimes, so you were right to dispose of it.

    My husband wouldn't get rid of our Sandhill Hornets' nest, so I had to go out with a hose after dark and get rid of them all. Later, I constructed a phony nest to scare new queens away. I used a balloon for a form and paper-mached brown paper bag strips over it with a paste of flour and water. It dried after a week and I covered it with some sort of acrylic craft coating to protect it from any damp. Then I hung it outside high up under the eave. It looks quite realistic. Scared a crew of workmen who went up on the deck with my husband. Never had any trouble with yellow jackets, mud-dabbers or hornets since its installation.

  7. YIKES you are one brave woman!! Thanks for the lesson in Bee Biology!!