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Friday, May 20, 2005

Photo Friday (Vol. XXVI) [local buzz edition]

I received a Photo Friday request from my friend Rahel this week, asking for some pictures of my bees.  I told her that it would probably have to wait a few weeks since I already had photos ready to post this week and next.  However, as I was leaving with Ariella to check on the bees this morning I decided, what the heck... why not grab the camera and make Rahel happy?  That's me... I'm a giver.  :-)

A few people have asked how the bee wars are progressing with my neighbors.  I won't go into too much detail except to say the following:

a)  An empty beehive is still sitting in West Turdistan, and the crazy neighbors think it is full of bees (I even periodically go out and look at it in my bee suit).
b)  I found a wonderful place for the real beehive on Migdal Oz, a neighboring kibbutz.
c)  The new setting is so picture perfect that I am tempted to bring a picnic lunch along each time I go to visit the bees.

This first picture is of my able assistant Ariella.  The big kids take turns helping me with the bees, and are both quite knowledgeable about them already.  Not only that, but they are completely unafraid of the bees.   The trees behind her are part of one of the kibbutz's cherry orchards.  The netting over the trees is to keep the birds from eating the ripening fruit.

The next picture should give you an idea of the breathtaking setting... as well as how close to home the new location really is.  The trees in the foreground with the netting are the same cherry orchards from the previous pictures.  The houses in the background are part of Efrat.

The hive itself is made up of several wooden boxes (painted white) that each have 10 frames inside.  Each of the frames can be removed, and because of the way the frames are spaced, the bees build their honeycomb only on the frames.

The way the bees get in and out is through a small slot at the bottom of the hive.  There are guard bees that check each of the workers that return from foraging flights with nectar or pollen to make sure they are from this hive (they recognize each other by smell).  Something must be in bloom because the workers were going in and out in very large numbers!

This is a picture of me inspecting a frame to see how the bees are doing (i.e. are they storing honey?... is the queen laying eggs?... do they have enough pollen and nectar for their own consumption?).

Notice how calm the bees are (they aren't flying around).  Many experienced beekeepers don't always bother with the bee suit, gloves and veil... but I like to err on the side of caution.  The new  beeswax comb is naturally white (like near the lower right corner) but much of it has been stained yellow on this frame by the bees tracking pollen over the white wax.


Here's a close-up of a frame with the perfectly formed honeycomb... and of course my gentle Italian honeybees!  So as not to disturb the hive more than necessary, I timed my visit during the middle of the day since that's when most of the workers are out on foraging flights. 

Well, that about wraps up this week's Photo Friday. 

I will leave you with a picture I shot yesterday on my way home from work.   Several months ago I got a request from someone for a sunset picture, and I don't remember if I ever came up with one.  As I was passing an Arab village about half way home, I noticed that the sun had turned into a beautiful orange ball as it sank behind the hills on which the village sat.  I didn't want to stop for too long, so this is what I was able to come up with:

Shabbat Shalom!

Posted by David Bogner on May 20, 2005 | Permalink


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Bees are wonderful! The vet school's curriculum in Rehovot has a mandatory course on bees I think, I wish ours had too. Though a swarm of wild bees in my kibbutz gave me a terrible fright once. Off to eat some honey and butter bread now.

Posted by: Lioness | May 20, 2005 2:24:58 PM

Thank you for the pictures. They were great and educational. My 4 year old enjoyed them also. She also enjoyed seeing another Ariella (her little sister is Ariella)

Posted by: Safranit | May 20, 2005 2:42:49 PM

Wow. Absolutely fascinating. Thanks for showing us this stuff. I'd love to see it up close one day.

Posted by: Avi | May 20, 2005 3:16:44 PM

You were right to wear that protective suit.

On the other hand, that picture of you holding the beez would have been MUCH more interesting with you barefoot and wearing shorts and a t-shirt!

Posted by: Andy | May 20, 2005 3:20:39 PM

Nice to hear about the "local buzz". That is one darn cute assistant you've got. Shabbat Shalom.

Posted by: Essie | May 20, 2005 3:54:45 PM

Yay! I'm glad the neighbors didn't ruin your hobby. I also knew absolutely nothing about it before my addiction... er.. my frequent visits here. Your little ones are all very photogenic. How'd you do that? (I know; you married well!)

Shabbat shalom.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | May 20, 2005 4:00:33 PM

Yummmm... you're gonna have some good honey. (That is what this is all for right? Or is it just to scare the neighbors?)
;) wink

Posted by: Mirty | May 20, 2005 4:04:46 PM

Pretty cool stuff.

Posted by: Jack | May 20, 2005 5:35:37 PM

Reminds me when PBS would show the bee keepers etc.
I have to be honest Dave, I never thought of you
as a bee keeper it's quite a suprise. Very educational thanks.

Posted by: shloimy | May 20, 2005 6:07:45 PM

Ok, that's just scary. lol

.... and was ANYONE ELSE in the running for the 2004 blog awards or did you pay off the judges?


Posted by: Tina | May 20, 2005 6:26:46 PM

How utterly cool. Terrific photos.

Posted by: Gail | May 20, 2005 10:03:28 PM

Very cool! I love seeing bees up close - when they're trapped or in a photo that is. Otherwise, I'm terrified of them.
Shabbat Shalom.

Posted by: tmeishar | May 20, 2005 10:11:20 PM

I guess you really are the bees' knees, David.

Posted by: Geoff | May 20, 2005 11:15:54 PM

Too cool. Thanks.

Posted by: Alice | May 21, 2005 2:15:58 AM

How neat! I'm terribly allergic to bees but have always been fascinated by them and once did a summer research project on them when I was a kid. Am I remembering correctly that bees are colour-blind to the colour red but are drawn to yellow, orange, white, blue and green? You and your little assistant(s) are very brave, even in those suits! Great pictures.

Posted by: katie-yael | May 21, 2005 3:30:01 AM

Thanks so much, David! The pictures are fascinating.

Bees are wonderful creatures. My only regret about them is that they can't be skritched.

Posted by: Rahel | May 21, 2005 10:57:22 PM

Lioness... Actually, the swarms are probably the least dangerous encounter one can have with bees. A swarm happens when the bees get too crowded inside their hive. They raise a new queen and about half of the bees leave with the queen to find a new home. While they are waiting for the scout bees to find the new place to live they form a big ball that hangs from a tree branch, a mailbox or even a light post. These balls of bees can look frightening, but the truth is that the bees lack any defensive instinct when they don't have a hive to defend. If you've ever seen a circus performer making a 'beard' out of bees, these are part of a swarm.

Safranit... I'm pleased that you and your daughter enjoyed the pictures. Needless to say, if she (or you) ever want to see a hive up close, I would be happy to give you a tour.

Avi... Just let me know when you want to pay the bees a visit!

Andy... The beekeeper from whom I got most of my training often handles his bees dressed almost as you described. So long as you are gentle and methodical with the process, there is usually no reason the bees should mind your handling them.

Essie... Thanks. Both of my assistants are quite photogenic (they take after their mother).

Doctor Bean... The education process has been mutual. :-)

Mirty... Yes, honey is the object. My wife has a lot of allergies, and daily consumption of local honey has been a proven to be a big help in reducing her symptoms.

Jack... I've been at this for a while, and it still thrills me to work with the bees up close.

Shloimy... I'm curious to know how you did think of me! :-)

Tina... No more scary than the idea of my teenage daughter going to a prom with a real live date!!! :-) I loved the pictures on your blog... when my daughter gets to be that age I'm going to lock the doors and sit at the window with a shotgun!!! :-)

Gail... Thanks. Glad to see you blogging about more 'mundane' stuff. I hope you know you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

Tmeishar... Nothing to be afraid of. Bees are really very single minded things. They want to find nectar and make honey of it. They can't be bothered with people unless people bother them.

Geoff... I guess you, Pearl and Jack are all going to collaborate on that book of puns. Good luck with that. :-)

Alice... Don't thank me... I'm a giver! :-)

Katie Yael... I've been stung a couple of times, but it was totally my fault each time. Once a bee got stuck between my sock and the top of my boot... another time I was taking off my bee suit and didn't realized one had tagged along on my collar until I accidentally crushed her against my neck. No big deal. As to the allergy thing... I don't know if either of my kids are allergic (since they have never been stung) so I always carry an Epi-pen with me whenever they are helping out.

Rahel... That is totally not true. You just have to know how to do it. I sometimes bring them a treat of sugar water and put a few drops on my hand. They fly over and drink the treat directly from my pal and have no problem with my touching them gently while they drink.

Posted by: David | May 21, 2005 11:15:47 PM

Geez I feel deja vu. We were just at our friend's house checking his hives. I stood right next to the hive without any protection while he was working and really didn't feel afraid at all. They don't act like angry bees that want to sting you for whatever reason. They just sort of buzzed around me and did their work. And this is coming from a person who has historicaly attracted bee stings at a comical rate. At no time did I feel like they were just going to attack.

Posted by: Alice | May 22, 2005 12:03:49 AM

See how we need bees in our curriculum? The gan workers actually acted quite scared and that's what scared me bcs I figured they knew something I didn't. *sigh* At least now I know, thank you.

Posted by: Lioness | May 22, 2005 1:29:40 AM

Alice... Neat the way the world gets smaller all the time, no? sometimes the kids will stand nearby without the veil on while I work... but I prefer not to take the chance and usually ask them to put it on.

Lioness... People who work outdoors - especially those who work in agriculture - fancy they know about bees as well. Yes, they have the ability to injure or in extreme case, kill a person who acts foolishly around them, but that's really not what they would prefer to be doing.

Posted by: David | May 22, 2005 5:16:46 PM

Oh, wow! Bees can be petted! That's awesome!

What's the proper proportion for the sugar water? Can you do this with any worker bees, or do they have to be your own, and only near the hive?

(... as I cast impatient glances toward the local lavender, rosemary and rose bushes while waiting for first light)

Seriously, David, don't worry. This isn't the kind of thing I'd try at home without proper advice, even though I'm sorely tempted.

Bees can be petted! Incredible. Talk about learning something new every day!

Posted by: Rahel | May 23, 2005 12:02:04 AM

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