Moving Bees at the turn of the Century

We've been studying C.C. Miller's book Fifty Years Among the Bees and came across some photos of how people moved bees by hand or with horses. If there ever is some sort of apocalypse and we need to live without electricity and gasoline, beekeeping is still doable! The prepper in me thinks this awesome! 

I wonder how fast those horses traveled with bees in the wagon behind them. Maybe there were sudden bursts of speed each time a horse got stung. . . 

I love this one! This is a jumbo (or extra deep) box carried by two ladies in their long dresses with a rope. They were taking bees into the cellar for the winter. I kinda want one of those veils.

Now this guy is smart. I wonder how far he carried this box from the field to the kitchen. A mile? Two? A deep box can weigh 80 pounds full of honey. But this one is a jumbo or extra deep box. Maybe 100-120 pounds? That's like carrying a full grown (short) woman. This rope helps distributes the weight.

 If you have a horse and need to carry 40 supers, this may be the wagon for you. I think I'd rather carry supers than full hives of mad bees on the back of a horse.

Here are some Andersen family history photos from A Century of Service, a biography of Arthur Andersen, Stan's grandpa.

This photo gem is from Stan's Great Grandpa, Nels Andersen in Emery, Utah. Note the beekeeper near the bee shed and the net-covered cargo truck to the right.

The photo below is also from our family history from around 1935 in Emery, UT. These beekeepers were smart too. They would bring the wagon 50-100 yards from the bee yard, unhitch the horses, pull the wagon by hand closer to the beehives, load it, then pull it by hand back to the horses, and re-hitch the horses to pull it home.

Or else they would drive the horse and wagon to the bee yard before sunrise, unhitch the horses, move them 50-100 yards away, load the cart, etc. (BTW, bees don't fly when it is dark or dreary.)


Beehives in Slovenia

A while back, I visited Slovenia. I was in the Carniolan region, actually, and didn't know about the connection to honey bees. (Ignorant American that I am, I cannot read Russian or Slovene.) When I came home and realized a major breed of honey bees originated in this region, I dug out the old photos to share on this blog. (Carniolan is the breed that originated there, btw.) Cool, right? 

They had large hive houses like this one pictured here. 

I love the folk art painted on these hives!

Pollen Basics

Here is a basic explanation of pollen and some photos of how it is stored in the hive. 

Honeybees collect pollen from flowers. Some of it is transferred to other flowers, fertilizing the flower so a plant can produce fruit. (Pollen is essentially the "sperm" to fertilize the flower "egg.")

Worker bees bring pollen back to the hive and store it in honeycomb cells. Later, nurse bees will feed pollen to brood. Spring pollen stimulates the queen to lay eggs to build up the colony after winter. 

Pollen is made up of amino acids, which are consumed by larvae to build the protein in their bodies. It is sometimes called "bee bread" because it has a bread-like texture when stored in the comb. 

Pollen is bee protein. Honey is bee carbohydrates. 

In the newly installed package below, bees have drawn some comb and filled some of the cells with multi-colored pollen. The pollen color is different for each plant bees visit. Bees do best when there is a variety of different pollen sources.  

Pollen from several plants can be stored in one cell. 

Bees sometimes store nectar within the same cell as pollen. (The shiny liquid below is nectar, which needs to be cured to make honey.) Having pollen below honey in cells can make it tricky to estimate how much pollen is in the hive. We really can't see it when honey cells are capped over.

One more thing: Some people like to consume pollen, or honey with pollen particles inside, to help with their seasonal allergies. It seems to help them. It is important to get pollen or honey produced in the season to match allergy inflammation.


Happy Valentine's Day!

Wishing you a happy Valentine's Day with this vintage honeybee valentine.