This is a Drone. He has very large eyes that I surmise cover a 270° radius (just a guess, I’ll look it up) so he can see the Queen for the mating flight. All those drones taking up space in the hive and eating up all the goodies, the bee bread and honey stores. Bee bread is a combo of honey and pollen. Can you taste the polleny-breadiness? I have now read the colony allows them to hang out to ‘keep the brood warm’ but the entomologists don’t all agree on this. They are larger than everyone else, kind of ‘chunky’.
‘First Lessons in Beekeeping’ published in 1918 by Charles Dadant arrived recently from Amazon’s trove of ‘lost books’. This book is considered one of the ‘bibles’ of beekeeping. We got it right back then and bees were and still are and always will be it seems, the most studied creature on the planet. The book begins immediately with the reproduction equipment (and that stinger) of this fascinating society of insects. Dadant could draw!(next time I’ll show you the etching-like diagrams)
The soaring heat has displayed some new behaviours at the hives but yesterday things escalated. I had to consult Mr. Google to check if a swarm was brewing. Another cursory inspection informed that WE HAVE HONEY!!!! oozing all over the place as they started building comb on top of the frames. Therefore, when I removed the cover where that ‘magical’ syrup jar sits, the honey combs broke open. I will be ready with clean jars in a few days and scrape off all that errant m-e-s-s. I am relying on intuition and stop the inspection when the volume of the buzzing rises. That can’t be good.
After I shut down the inspection and put the rocks back on the roof covers and slowly vacated the site with my kit and smoker, all hell broke loose. Bees buzzing everywhere. Angry buzzing? The air space filled with bees at the front of the hive. There was a certain amount of bearding going on too (everyone chilling outside the hive although temps were quite reasonable) Is this a hatch? The first flights of new workers? It is the drones who make all the noise. What is going onnn??
All the ruckus died down just as mysteriously in a matter of minutes but I spotted a lone drone trudging away from the hive, along the recently cultivated grapevine bed. His large beady eyes obvious in my sightline. Had he been ‘ousted’ by the Workers? They do that from time to time, ruthlessly escort them out. I should have picked him up. Note to self: always carry a jar when in the Bee Yard.
Ms. Worker Bee. She means business.