04 November 2013

out-yard visits + a sun-set walk

weaving hillside
wild colony resting on-top the tree it was cut out from
walking back down

Kwao and I jumped in the white motor vehicle with smoke trailing after us to feed and inspect some of the hives that where down the road from the farm. After scrambling up a muddy hillside, the first was a wild colony that was cut-out from a tree and placed in a small top-bar hive, in the same location. The next two hives we visited were in the yards of the locals. We spotted the queen in both - big, healthy beauties! In the last hive, the particularly darker in colour and some of her daughters reflected that gene with dark bands of their own.
top center queen

removing a plastic feed bag that's been in too long

We were able to marvel at the sheer strength of a honey bee furiously beating the air as she heaved her sister's corpse out and carried it a good yard away before crash-landing into the grass. Her job as an undertaker is to keep the nest clean from dead bodies and debris. The odor of the dead helps her locate them so she can carry them out before dropping them fifty to one hundred meters away from the hive.

One thing I noticed in all these hives, compared to the ones on the farm, is that the brood-nest was in the back of the hive with the empty combs in the front. We reasoned that the queens must have moved farther back to be closer to the feed bags.

After cooling off on the private beach, the two oldest boys, Emmanuel and Melchizedek, took me for a walk. The family's two dogs, Lady and Suzy, trailed after us on the dirt road that wove through small villages of colorful shacks and guided us past a horse and donkey grazing the pastures. After scrambling over some sharp limestone and coral, we were at the edge of the sea, watching the radiant sun plunge into the horizon and lighting bolts rip from the clouds. It was breath-taking. We bushwhacked through a bit of jungle and ran through waist-high fields to find the road back home before it got too dark.

1 comment :

  1. Beautiful pictures! Lots of amazing bee information. Hope you are having the time of your life and learning tons. Love you!