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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 19th year of beekeeping in April 2024. Now there are more than 1300 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

Even if you find one post on the subject, I've posted a lot on basic beekeeping skills like installing bees, harvesting honey, inspecting the hive, etc. so be sure to search for more once you've found a topic of interest to you. And watch the useful videos and slide shows on the sidebar. All of them have captions. Please share posts of interest via Facebook, Pinterest, etc.

I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here.Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How DOES the queen do it?

When the queen lays an egg, the egg is like a tiny grain of rice that stands straight up in the cell. She does this a thousand times a day in the height of bee season and her eggs manage to balance on end almost all the time. You can see many examples of her skill at work in the slide below....many eggs, all standing properly on end.

I am part of a Foxfire-Mountaineer festival in Rabun County on Saturday - it's at the Old School Community Garden behind the Civic Center in Clayton for anyone who is in the area and wants to stop by. I'm giving a talk for children at 11 and 2:30. To talk about the bees, I thought I'd make a model of what a frame looks like in the hive. I'm copying something my friend Jay made to use in demonstrations.

Well, I thought I'd make eggs and larvae out of Skulpy clay (baked in the oven) to show what they look like. Truly this project takes me back to the days of my children's science projects for school - they were always involved with foam core board, clay, dyeing fabric with walnut shells, etc.

To create the egg, first I tried using rice. I put grains of rice, with a dollop of glue on the tip end into the nut cups I'm using for cells and for the life of me, they wouldn't stick and wouldn't stand on their ends. How DOES the queen do it?

Here we see a fallen-over grain of rice.

In this blurry picture I am trying to hold the rice upright with a toothpick while the glue dries to no avail.

Finally I settled on baked clay eggs but even they, larger than the rice, wouldn't glue and stand up on end, so I had to concede that the queen has a special talent that I don't and made a round clay bed to hold the eggs upright.

Thankfully this morning all are still standing.  I am going to redo the board so that it isn't square but is rather shaped more like the rectangle that a frame of brood comb is.

For now, this is what it looks like:

As per Jay's example, I have capped brood, capped honey, pollen and larvae.  I'm going to put polyurethane over the larvae to be the liquid in which they lie and in the empty cells at the top to be nectar.

Don't you love the bee?  I found it at Michael's just sitting on a shelf waiting for me to choose it!
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  1. How clever! You are so good to share your knowledge with the children. Lucky you to find the Bee!

  2. Kudos to the queen. :)
    I've chosen your blog as the blog of the month on the English magazine. If you would like to be interviewed for the magazine, please get in touch with me via Google. :)


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