Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Inside the hive

I got my colony of the native stingless bee Trigona carbonaria in late November last year. The housing for Trigona is two half-boxes on top of each other, (an optional small third box can be placed on top for honey), so when a colony is doing well it can be 'split' by separating the two boxes and placing them on corresponding empty boxes.

My colony was a 'split', so it was composed of a full bottom box and an empty top box and 'honey super' on top, and seemed to be going very strong from the activity around the entrance. So, I thought I'd take the honey box off and see how the inner workings of the hive were going. Here are some photos from the event.

This is the main cavity of the box - you can see that it's nearly full of brood (the spiral structure up the top of the photo), pollen and nectar pots. Close-ups to follow.

This is the 'honey super' which sits on top. The piece of board in the photo below sits between this and the rest of the box cavity with small spaces at each end - the idea is that the brood spiral doesn't extend into the honey box, but honey and pollen are stored here, so the honey can be harvested without damaging the brood.

Divider board with amazing wax structure.

Pollen pots with some spilt honey.

The spiral brood. Each little pot, when sealed, contains an egg or larva and enough supplies for it to develop into an adult. You can see some of the pots around the edges are open, still being stocked or waiting for the queen to oviposit.

Looks like the colony's doing very well - I expect they will stock the honey super more in the coming months, and it will be ready for a split before too long.


Evan said...

I was told native bees couldn't be farmed. Does the hive need to be near native vegetation, or are they more of a generalist?

Vasha said...

What a remarkable-looking hive -- I somehow hadn't expected it to look so different from that of Apis mellifera.

fromlittlethings said...

I'm allergic to stinging bees. Where can I get a hive like this for my garden? I'm in Melbourne