Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Incredible Grossness of Life

Dana and I went into the hives yesterday to check things out and add a super (box sans bottom) to the hive. I started with Shera's hive; everything looked good in the hood. I moved to Catra's hive, using my hive tool to pry open the propolis-glued cover. Things looked quite busy, even for a bee. Dana held the surrounding frames down as I pried a fat one out of its waxy thicket. The bees had constructed a wax bridge between the frame in my hand and the one in the box. Apparently, the queen had laid eggs in the bridge. My hand had twisted the bridge in two, releasing two white, slimy, slug-like beings that are called bee larvae from their cells, prematurely. Bee larva in action is gross. They squirm and squiggle and look so exposed next to the worker bees. But that's their destiny. So weird.

"Dana, take a picture of this, this is gross. For the blog and to document it. Actually, this is really gross. Never mind, nobody wants to see this. Ew, this is disgusting, I don't want to see this."

That was my thought process, or what I tried to get across in words, most likely more convoluted, fragmented words, to Dana, armed with my camera.

Queen bees lay eggs in honeycomb cells. Eggs become larvae. Larvae become pupae, or, soft, white bee skeletons with sinister eyes. Pupae become bees, which push their way out of the cells as the fuzzy little buzzers we all love.

I shoved the larvae frame back in place and moved on to a frame at the other end of the super to the site of the potential supercedure cells. Well, it turned out that these weren't supercedure cells; rather, they were either worker or drone cells. Supercedure cells would be much more peanut-like than these cells. Most excitingly, we witnessed the "birth" of a bee: see the little (leg? antenna?) sticking out of the cell? It was just feeling its way into this intricately bizarre world of ours, of honeybees, all animals...

A new friend helps her out.

She pushes herself into the world.

Welcome to our world, small bee.

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