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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Quick look inside the hive

I went for a quick look inside the hives and snapped a couple of pictures.  

The bees look to be on track for a first year hive.  This is the natural formation of a beehive.  From all of the pictures I have seen of honey bee hives that are "in the wild" it appears that they build a ball shaped hive, or 1/2 ball with the top being flat.  In fact they look like the classic skelp or bell shaped hive, the difference is that the skelp is upside down.  So a "natural" comb pattern is basically semi-circle.  The bees then build progressivly shorter comb on each side until the entire hive ends up looking like a ball.  The pictures I took today seem to bear this out. 

Other interesting notes about topbar hives is that the sides are sloped at just the right angle so the bees believe the sides are floor or bottom.

So if you look on the side of the hive in the pictures the bees are walking on the floor.  This is not to say that bees can't walk on any surface, they can in fact walk on just about anything at any angle.  While it looks like the comb is attached to the wall on the right it really isn't.  The bees build comb to within "1 bee space" of the floor and there is 1 bee space between each comb.  To read more on what bee space is and who discovered it go here 
then link here for more on the topbar hive.