May 21, 2009

Inside the Bienhaus

:30 video of the Electron Cloud 

It's typically not advised to place a hive inside a greenhouse, for a variety of reasons, but we need protection from Raid-equipped cable men and irrational neighbors. So by carefully controlling solar gain and providing maximum ventilation, we've created the Bienhaus to protect our new bees. The concept of the "bien" [a play on biene (German for "bees")] is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. A 3# package of bees, about 10,000 individuals, is really one organism. Michael Thiele explains it best.

Outside the Bienhaus, the "electron cloud" in this video is normal traffic. These are bees from the original package - we miss them already - coming and going on foraging trips. Some are hovering, studying the hive to make sure they recognize home when they return from foraging. But for the most part, they already know their way around the neighborhood and are either zipping out or zipping in. (I just checked and can hardly believe that almost a month has gone by since we shot the video!)

The new bees can be seen taking "fun flights," every afternoon sometime between 2 and 4 pm. These bees have never seen the outside before, so they take their sweet time studying their surroundings. They hover, facing the hive, and when their cloud forms it's more like a Plutonium Cloud! We'll post that video another day.

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