Apiary is an exercise in cooperation with creatures that requires very little of us; but from whom we reap big rewards. Ensuring that hives are in optimal condition, and doing what you can to maintain it, requires on-going attention. There are several things to keep an eye on. Our beekeepers visit monthly, at a minimum. On their recent trip out, where I was able to be an active participant, the mission was to find open broods with larva in the cells.
Honeybees live in complex communities that may contain as many as 100,000 members. The majority of these are the unfertile female bees known as workers. They are aptly named as it is their responsibility to run the hive; feed and clean the queen; gather nectar, pollen, and water (nectar gets converted into carbohydrate-rich honey; pollen is used as is for protein-rich “bee bread”); cool or heat the hive: feed developing larvae; and make the beeswax they use to build all the hive’s cells. During the peak of the season, a worker will live only six weeks before she dies from exhaustion. Kinda sounds like a woman’s life, huh? 🙂