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  • Writer's pictureLinda

Lay lady lay

Cliffe Castle Bee Blog #13 2023

Mike and I completed today’s inspection on a windy, wet, but warm day. Despite the blustery weather, the colony was still of good temper and took the disturbance in its stride.

Our red queen has now begun to lay on a fourth comb, proving she can move beyond the grubbiest wax cells in the nest. This week we have another video, sent in by Sally-Anne from the museum staff team. In this one she catches the queen in action, carefully placing the tip of her abdomen into the base of a cell, to lay an egg.

Can you see how attentive the house bees are that form her retinue? These bees are regularly making contact with her and taking on her pheromone scents to pass around the hive. As the queen moves to other areas of the nest to lay eggs, she will attract a new group of attendant workers.

The queen needs to replace the energy she uses to lay eggs. One or more of the house bees will feed her at intervals during her laying bouts. As she is laying on a frame at the side of the hive, you may be lucky enough to see all of this happening for yourself.

If you are visiting Cliffe Castle for Eco Day next Saturday (1 July), you can chat to a beekeeper by the hive and visit the Airedale Beekeepers stall.



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