The Bee That Launched a Thousand Eggs…A DAY, and a Mystery Visitor!

Helen's Workers

Say “Hello!” to the workers of Queen Helen. She’s busy at the moment down on the frames laying eggs. I installed a three pound package of bees in this hive about a week-and-a-half ago and have confirmed that they are raising brood like good little troopers. It’s safe now to officially name the queen. This is the first time I’ve actually had drawn comb to install on. I’m reusing what was left from a split we did last fall that died over the winter. When bees are installed on bare foundation or, as I do, on empty frames with guide bars, they have to put a lot of work getting the comb made first before the resource-gathering and brood-rearing can get into full swing for the season. Comb is the structure of the hive that they really can’t function without.

Next door in Bernice’s hive things are off to a slow start but I’m hoping now that the weather is warming up they’ll build up soon. As I was looking into that hive I noticed one of the bees crawling around on my hand wasn’t a honey bee!

Not a Honey Bee

I grabbed my phone and got  a quick picture of it before it crawled down into the hive. I don’t know what it is and I hope it’s not harmful to the honey bees. I doubt it is. Looking around at some resources online and elsewhere I think I have a general idea of what it is but am not ready to say for sure. I will say, however, that my year of paying more attention to native bees got off to an earlier start than I expected in a completely unexpected place.


12 thoughts on “The Bee That Launched a Thousand Eggs…A DAY, and a Mystery Visitor!

  1. Perhaps that other bee was attracted by the smell of honey and comb and got in while you were inspecting Bernice’s hive, that way she wouldn’t have had to get past the guard bees.

    1. I think you’re right. I wasn’t too concerned about a solitary bee finding the goodies inside since she couldn’t muster a force to rob the place.

  2. How interesting! I’ve never heard of solitary bees going near honey bee hives. This must have been a very brave one. I would imagine the guard bees would make short work of her. Amelia

    1. I think the guard bees must have been lower down or maybe just too few in number. Now that the hive’s closed up and they are — I hope! — building up their numbers for spring they’ll keep any marauders out.

  3. Mark,

    I would say your bee is in the genus Andrena. Andrena are characterized by two patches of thick facial hair running along the inside of their compound eyes. They are solitary bees that live in the ground and are frequently called “mining bees.” She won’t do any harm to your honey bees, she’s just curious.

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