Beehive Tour – Family Plot

– All right, Mr. David. – (David)
Hi, we’re back! – (Chris)
We got the get-ups on. – (David)
It’s a little different. – (Chris)
The bee suits! – (David)
We’re bee suits. We’re actually in bees. A couple things real quickly
before we even start. One thing that is really
hard for new beekeepers is keeping their smoker lit. – (Chris)
Okay. – (David)
Now, why do you need a smoker? To alert the bees, not alarm. – (Chris)
Alert, not alarm, alert. – (David)
Well, kind of. You might want to
think about it. Most people think smoke
has a calming effect on bees. It doesn’t, it actually
confuses their ability to talk to each other. All the kids know
about the waggle dance and how bees tell other bees
about where flowers are. But bees really communicate
with pheromones. And those are smells
that mean something. Well, we generally can’t smell
what the bees are saying. So, what we can smell is smoke. – (Chris)
Okay. – (David)
Smoke is louder than anything the bees can say. And the first thing that we
do when we get into the bees, is we smoke ’em a little bit. That smoke confuses their
ability to talk to each other. The guard bees can’t
tell the other bees that we’re in ’em. And some of the bees will
actually take that smoke and realize there’s
a fire somewhere. And they’ll go into
the hive and suck up as much honey as they can. It distends their abdomens, and bees have to extend
their stinger to sting. When their bellies are full, they can’t push
out their stingers. So they’re confused,
and they can’t sting us. The smoker is very important, and keeping it lit
while you’re working is even more important, because once the bees
are looking at us, that means they know we’re here. Put a little bit smoke
across the top of them, and they go back to doing
what they were doing. – (Chris)
So let’s make sure we keep that smoker on. – (David)
So we smoke ’em in the front, we’ve waited about 60 seconds. We’re gonna lift the back,
put a little smoke under here. And the reason we’re
opening this hive, is because I just got these bees from somebody’s house last week. And we want to see how
they’re progressing. One thing that we look at
as the bees come and go from the entrance,
you can learn a lot about what’s going
on with the bees. If they have pollen
on their legs, that means they have babies. If they have babies, that means they probably
have a laying queen. Pollen is protein, everything
needs protein to grow. – (Chris)
Okay. – (David)
Okay, so we watch that. We watch the activity. Is there any arguing
going on in front, is anybody fighting? (Chris chuckles) Bees defend their hive. If there’s no hive
movement up front, no arguing, then
they’re not stressed. Well, there’s some bees. – (Chris)
Wow, look at that. – (David)
And this a hive tool. Neat factors on this
is you can use this to break apart pieces of wood that the bees have
glued together. – (Chris)
Glued together, okay. – (David)
Hear that popping? – (Chris)
Yeah, I heard it. – (David)
Okay. – (Chris)
Now, how would you think the bees are doing? – (David)
Right now, we’ve got bees, so they’re alive. – (Chris)
So they’re alive, okay. – (David)
See how they’re looking at us, see the eyes? – (Chris)
I see that. – (David)
Just a little bit of smoke, and down they go. – (Chris)
Wow, they went straight down. – (David)
When we open a hive, we start on the
outside and work in. Now this is a new hive, I’m not expecting
much movement in here, but this is what we would do. Pry the bar apart. This goes right here and jacks
up the side of the frame. Not expecting
anything on this frame because it’s brand new. Slide this frame over, and keep sliding over to
see what the bees are doing. – (Chris)
So as you’re sliding those over, but that’s not
bothering the bees? – (David)
No, because they’re doing their thing. – (Chris)
Okay. – (David)
Okay, lift this up. See the glistening in there? – (Chris)
I see it. – (David)
That’s nectar. That’s going to be honey. – (Chris)
Neat. – (David)
Nectar comes from flowers, and it’s the liquid
source in the flower that draws the bees in. – (Chris)
Okay. – (David)
As the bees are digging around getting nectar, the pollen in
the flowers actually gets stuck to the little hairs
on their bodies. And when they leave that flower
and go to the next flower, that causes pollination. The pollen transfers,
that causes our fruits and our vegetables to grow. Now, see this real
fat bee right here? – (Chris)
I see it. – (David)
That’s a drone, that’s a boy. – (Chris)
Okay. (chuckles) Pretty good size, too. – (David)
If you look at him, see how big his eyes are? – (Chris)
I see that. – (David)
His whole head is just about all eyes. He’s got one purpose in life, and that’s to find a new
queen and mate with her. So he needs all those
eyes to see her. – (Chris)
How ’bout that? – (David)
He sits in the hive all day long, until about two o’clock
in the afternoon, sucking up honey. Around two o’clock
in the afternoon, all the drones leave the hive, and they go to a place called
a drone congregation area. A D-C-A. – (Chris)
DCA. (laughs) – (David)
It’s sort of like a smoking lounge for bees. And they kind of hang out and
wait for a new queen to come. Now how does she find them? There’s not a big
neon sign up there, but there’s pheromones,
a trail of pheromones where the boys have flown, and she follows
straight to them. And when she shows
up, game is on. They will chase her. The first 12 to 20 drones
that catch up with her, will mate with her. And she stores up all
of that genetic material inside her body in
very special organ called a spermatheca. And coming from her intestines is a tube that
feeds sugar to them. And it keeps those sperm
viable for up to five years. – (Chris)
Whoa. – (David)
Crazy? – (Chris)
Man, that is wild. – (David)
One mating, and that’s it for her. – (Chris)
Wow, that’s it? – (David)
That’s it. We’re gonna go
one more box down. That’s it for her, she
never leaves the hive again, unless the hive feels
constricted or congested. And she will leave
with half the colony, and go find a new home. That’s what happens in
the spring and summer. It’s called swarming. They’re looking for a new home. So it’ll be a big
cluster of bees hanging on a tree or a
mailbox or somebody’s car. They don’t have
anything to defend, so they’re not gonna sting you. Unless you go mess with ’em. In fact, even here,
bees are defensive. They’re only gonna defend
their hive and their honey. They’re not gonna
come look at you like wasps or
yellow jackets will. – (Chris)
Yes. I’ve been a witness to that one. – (David)
We’re gonna go down one more box. This box is the box
of frames and combs that we got from the house. Lot more action in here. When we take comb
out of a house, we gotta do something with it. Rubber bands hold it in place. So every one that
has the X on it is a rubber-banded comb. These on the outside
are just fillers that we put in so that
they have everything they need to grow. Plastic foundation, bees
build wax on top of this. They build it out. – (Chris)
How neat is that? – (David)
They’ll do it on both sides. We’ll set that right here. Go over one more. And now that looks good. – (Chris)
That’s a lot of bees down in there. – (David)
That’s also a lot of honey. See the white caps? – (Chris)
I do. – (David)
That white is honey. Earlier we had liquid. Once it gets to
about 17% moisture, once the bees have dried it out, they cap it over with wax. And that’s their honey. And again– – (Chris)
Impressive. – (David)
Two fat drones. – (Chris)
I see ’em. – (David)
Lot of workers. In a hive of 40,000 bees,
you may have a thousand boys. – (Chris)
How long before the bees can make honey, though? – (David)
Well, almost immediately. When they set up a new hive, there are bees that
are building wax, and bees that are
going to the field. And they’re bringing food
in as fast as they can. So this is comb that
was in somebody’s house. – (Chris)
Wow. – (David)
See the tan pockets? Those are babies. Those are brood that
are just about to hatch. They go through the same
four metamorphic stages that butterflies go through. Egg, larva, pupa, adult. – Larva, pupa, adult. – (David)
They actually spin a cocoon inside the wax. And that’s the cap
over the cocoon. – (Chris)
Wow. – (David)
But this was in somebody’s house last week. And they’ll eventually fill
this whole area out with wax, and once they do, then
we won’t have to worry about these spare pieces
sticking off the side. I’ll set that there. – (Chris)
That is so impressive. Now, David, before
we have to leave, I noticed there are a few
dead bees lying on the ground. – (David)
Yes. New beekeepers may
look at that and go, “Oh my gosh, somebody
sprayed my bees!” Or, “They’ve gotten
into a pesticide.” Bees work their selves to death. – (Chris)
Okay. – (David)
And sometimes they’ll die inside the hive. And when they do,
another bee will carry that dead bee outside the hive
and drop it on the ground. Well, the entrance
is right here, so there are a few dead
bees on the ground. – (Chris)
Okay. – (David)
What I’m looking for right now is evidence that
the queen is laying. We’re looking for
eggs and larvae. Right here is the queen. – (Chris)
Huh! – (David)
Right here, going down. – (Chris)
Going down, I see her. – (David)
Doesn’t take long for her to lay an egg. The queen lays about
1,500 to 2,000 eggs a day. Literally, her body
weight, every day in eggs. – (Chris)
How impressive is that? Listen, David,
we appreciate this. This has been outstanding. In fact, it’s been– – (David)
Out standing in the field? – (Chris)
Un-bee-lievable, how ’bout that? Thank you much. – (David)
You’re very welcome, thank y’all.


  1. I've seen people use the horizontal frames and I would like to use those because they are so much lighter. I would like to raise bees but I live in the city. Have a Wonderful & Blessed Day!

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