Unsung heroes: The Beekeeper

What do beekeepers do all day? I went to Longsdon Apriary to find out.

Longsdon Apiary.
The face and neck are the most important areas to protect from bee stings, so most beekeepers wear at least a veil. Defensive bees are attracted to the breath, and a sting on the face can lead to much more pain and swelling than a sting elsewhere.
Almost all the bees in a hive are female worker bees.
Beekeepers use a “smoker“ to calm the bees. The smoke masks alarm pheromones released by guard bees or when bees are hurt during an inspection.
The smoke creates an opportunity for the beekeeper to open the beehive and work without triggering a defensive reaction.
The Langstroth was the first successful top-opened hive with movable frames. The design of this hive (the National) is based on the Langstroth.
A beekeeper checks a honeycomb.
The queen (marked with a red dot) is the only sexually mature female in the hive and all of the female worker bees and male drones are her offspring.
The queen may live for up to three years or more and may be capable of laying half a million eggs or more in her lifetime. The queen influences the colony by the production and dissemination of a variety of pheromones or “queen substances”.
Experienced beekeepers tend not to use gloves because they prevent delicate manipulation of the hive.

This is photo story 17/52. More details about this project.

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