Bees, Trees and Music

Did you know that when the worker honeybees are not disturbed, they are buzzing with the sound close to a B natural next to piano’s middle C ?
The frequency is: 247 vibrations per second.
When the worker honeybees are agitated, they raise their buzzing frequency closer to a middle C (also known as B sharp) – 262 vibrations per second.
At ForestBeehive apiary we aim to minimize disturbing our bees so they keep buzzing as close to a Natural B sound as possible.
So to disturb the bees as little as possible, our 1st inspection is very minimal – mostly to see if the bees need more room to expand and if the brood is present. It’s windy but it’s a warm day in the afternoon when most of the forages are out in the field so that there are fewer bees to disturb. 

This is a European-style 20-frame stationary deep horizontal Layens hive. In Spain alone there are more than a million horizontal Layens hives.
As opposed to Spanish Layens hives, inside the walls of our Layens hives there’s a good natural wool insulation so that the bees can winter well in Maine.

Now we are looking inside the Layens horizontal hive.
The bees have gathered on the divider board that separates the working part of the hive and the hive’s empty expansion part. The single open hive entrance is on the opposite side of the divider board where there’s the brood nest. The hive gets expanded towards the divider board, so expansion here is towards the viewer. 

There’s an important 3/4 inch ventilation gap between the bottom of the divider board and the bottom of the hive. In hot days you may see forager bees just hanging out on the divider board on the opposite side of the hive. It’s a cooler place to rest for tired forages. In the main part of the hive the bees maintain a higher temperature of 95 F for dehydration of nectar at the right speed and for proper brood development.  

I am temporarily removing the divider board so I can see if the bees need more expansion room and if so, I will add more frames with wax foundation.
The wax foundation on these frames comes from a remote mountain region of Spain where the bees are far removed from any agricultural crops and any pesticides and forage predominantly on wildflowers.

It’s high time to add more frames with foundation as the bees are already working on the last frame next to the divider board.
Just out of curiosity, but again, trying to keep disturbing the bees to a bare minimum, we’ll briefly look at a few more frames to see what’s going on.
Here’s a frame with whitish area of capped honey, uncapped nectar and yellowish pollen cells.
Another similar frame with capped honey, nectar and pollen.
And here’s a combined frame that came from our original May 1st transfer of brood-only frames from a conventional nuc to this horizontal hive. It is June 16 and the original brood has already hatched so we see the new brood here. The smaller flatter capped cells are for worker bees while the larger more convex capped cells are drone brood cells.

Here we are planting a native Bee Tree – it’s one of the real names for American Basswood also known as American Linden & has a Latin name: Tilia americana.

This tree can live up to 150 years. Although American Basswood flowers for just around 2 weeks every summer, when this tree is mature it can provide more than 100lb of delicious honey each year. When American basswood is in bloom, the honeybees tend to abandon all other flowers and forage exclusively on American basswood.

ForestBeehive apiary is in a Bear country, so we have here a solar-power-backed electric fence to ward off the bears. You may notice pieces of aluminum foil on the top wire and those have peanut butter inside to invite the bear to give it a lick & then run the other way…
And here are our current mid-June honeybee favorite long-blooming flowers: Lacy phacelia.