Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Making 'house signs' so bees can find their own hive

Everyone knows that foraging honey bees can find their way back to their home and that ‘guard’ bees will stop any ‘foreign’ bees from coming into their hive. 

Well, actually, this is not quite true.  In the wild, colonies of bees would set up home with their hives well separated from each other.   However, for the convenience of the beekeeper, we tend to put our beehives within a few feet of each other.  Also, the guard bees are quite practical.  If a worker bee turns up at the doorstep with a full load of nectar, they will generally just let it in ... well, why not!

This all tends to create a bit of a problem for the beekeeper.  If the bees cannot tell the difference between the hives, then they tend to just go to the nearest one!