Fairies: Bees in the Morning

You guys.  I am so excited to show you why I love keeping bees in our backyard. They're beautiful, but they also have quirky behaviors I only learned about when we began beekeeping.

When you first watch the film above, it's a zen moment on an early morning near our hives. Enjoy it with a cup of coffee or tea, or if you need a mental break. That's usually why I go out to the hives. There's something that lulls my brain into a state of calm after watching bees.

The bees look ethereal in the morning light, like little fairies flitting in and out of the hive, sometimes covered with the pixie dust of flowers, sometimes swollen with sweet nectar. Those bees return home with fat yellow bellies and glow when the sun is behind them. 

The second time you watch it, you will begin to notice little details. Keep in mind, this is in slow motion, and even I have a hard time picking up these details in real life.  I'm getting better the more I observe bees.  You will, too.

So if I were your beehive tour-guide, this is what I'd point out.  You can pause the film at each of these markers:

:32 // Did you know that bees have 4 wings? When our honeybee takes off, you can see all four wings.  A honeybee's wings are arranged in two pairs that lock together with a row of hooks on the hind wing. As the wings unfold for flight, the hooks automatically fall into the groove and lock the two wings into a single surface. The "mega-wing" (my own name for it, and yes, it's scientific. Not really.) is flexible and bends while she's flying.  You can see her MegaWings when the sunlight shines through them.

:40 // Pollen Legwarmers.  The bee closest to the hive has little yellow pollen leg warmers (again, my scientific/invented name).  You can see her load of pollen tucked onto her legs where she has a "pollen basket," or corbicula (this really is an actual beekeeping term).

1:00 // Bee cleaning her antennae.  This is the bee equivalent of cleaning a windshield before driving since her antennae help her to "see" the the scents in the air as she flies. What's fascinating is how sensitive their antennae are.  Bee antennae are covered all over with microscopic pores that allow air inside where chemoreceptors react to molecules in airborne scents. Basically they can read the air for clues in a superhero kind of way.  By flying around in the air, bees can detect perfumes released by flowers from miles away.  This would explain how they all know the rosemary flowers 5 blocks over are ready for harvesting.

1:06 - 1:07 // Bee belly full of nectar.  The girl on the right is coming in with a heavy load of nectar in her big yellow abdomen. She almost looks like a balloon. Her belly is stretched tight and glows a clear yellow when the sunlight shines through her. Compare her to the bee about to take flight who has a small, compact, empty abdomen.

1:47 // Bee High-Five.  You saw it here first, folks.  

Aren't they beautiful and complex?  I really hope you enjoyed seeing our bees up close.  This was my first video shot on my iPhone 6s, and it was so fun and easy to share why bees are worth protecting, that I'm planning to do more.  

Let me know your thoughts, if there is anything you would like to see, and also if you are a beekeeper and saw something interesting in the film above.

For more homesteading & design adventures, connect with me on Instagram at @modernhive.

Look forward to hearing from you,


Aislin GibsonComment