A colony of bees can sometimes be mixed up with the wording "hive of bees" or "swarm of bees".
Correctly a colony of bees is the whole collection of bees that forms inside a beehive. Therefore the correct term when talking about the bees inside a beehive is a colony.
A colony of bees are made up of predominantly three types of bees.
Queen Bee: There is 1 queen bee. She is the largest bee in the colony and is responsible for laying new eggs to grow the colony. She is the single layer within the colony.
Drone: These are the only male bees with in the colony. They are usually visible only during the spring and summer months where their primary purpose is breeding with virgin queens bees.
Worker Bees: As the name states, there are the hardest working bees within the colony. There are a wide range of roles that they undertake from foraging, nursing the new brood, scouts looking for new homes and guard bees keeping unwelcome visitors out.
The length of the life of a bee can depend on its variety, conditions and how much they are working.
Typically in the European Honey Worker Bees reared in spring and summer, when the colony is most productive, work tirelessly and may live for 45 days.
From a queen bee perspective the average life span of a queen bee is two to five years, they have however been known to live up to seven years, although this is rare.
We have to be aware the scale of the drops of water vs the size of bees themselves. Yes this can effect their flight however it’s normal to see them go about foraging during a light shower. Although there’s no way in tempting them to leave the safety of their cosy hive during a heavy rain or thunderstorm.
Studies have shown that bees behave differently before a storm. They have been found to forage the evening before a storm, so it seems they can sense the changes in air pressure long before the storm hits. They also tend to get less charitable with their honey stores, so you’ll notice that they’ll be more aggressive at that time. This is also a reason why many beekeepers tend not to inspect their hives during this period due to their temperament change.
When the bee stings its barbs which looks like a hook, enters the skin like a spear however, it can't pull the stinger back out. It leaves behind not only the stinger but also part of its digestive tract, plus muscles and nerves. This massive abdominal rupture effectively rips out its stomach and as a result kills the bee.
Therefore the honey bee can only sting once in its lifetime and will do so only if threatened. This is different from hornets and wasps of which can sting multiple times.
Depending upon the weather and light, they use the day light to not only see the sources of food they need, however also use the sun to aid their navigation. As a result when it gets dark, they tend to return to the beehive. If you were to move a beehive to another location, its best to close the hive up at night so you can be sure the majority of the bees from that hive are inside and back home. This minimises loss of orphaned bees.
Stingless bees are highly social insects, with one queen and thousands of workers who live together in a protected place, which, in nature, is usually in a hollow tree. Stingless bees inhabit the northern parts of Australia, although on the east coast they reach a bit further south than Sydney. They also occur in other tropical parts of the world. The Australian species are much smaller than European honey bees. They are generally black in colour. As their name suggests, they do not have a sting although they can give you a little bite with their jaws. Although there are hundreds of species of Australian native bees, the stingless bees are the only ones that make and store quantities of honey.
Inexperienced and new beekeepers can often mistake a drone for the queen bee, because he is larger and wider than a worker bee.
Queen Bee: The queen's shape is thinner, more delicate, tapered thorax and longer in length.
Drone: The drone shape is in fact more like a barrel with a wide round rear-hind. The drone's eyes are huge and seem to cover his entire head.
Worker Bee: These cover the majority of the hive and impossible to miss. They are smaller in size and will continuously be working within and outside the beehive.
Bees have poor night vision. In some areas of the world like Africa, most of the harvesting activity happens in the evening and traditional log hives at night.
With a modern hive like a Langstroth like this, the bees crawl out of the hive instead of flying right straight out and therefore keeps the bees more distracted. The Honey Bee rely on their other senses, such as touch and scent, through their antennae. So they are quite capable of defending the hive even in the dark.
In addition to their poor eye sight, they can't see specific spectrums of light. It is also the reason why some commercial beekeepers use red-light head torches when moving their beehives at night.
The Western honey bee, referred to scientifically as apis mellifera, plays a small but sweet role in the vast, global spectrum of bee species. There are over 20,000 known types of bee, spanning every continent bar Antarctica.
One of the easiest ways to help native bees and honey bees is by planting flowers in your garden. You don’t have to have a huge garden or beautiful landscaping either, just a wide range of flowering fauna that appeal to bees.
They can see colours at the yellow and blue ends of the spectrum most easily, which is why mostly they’re attracted to white, yellow, purple, and blue flowers. They can’t see red, but may still feed on red flowers that have a strong scent. Honey bees prefer flowers with wide blooms and open petals, so it’s easy for them to reach the nectar inside. However, some native bees have adapted to forage from flowers with deep, bell-shaped blossoms.
The bees climb onto or into the flower and suck up the nectar with their straw-like mouth and collect it in a little sac called a crop. They also collect pollen on their legs. As they move from flower to flower, they leave a little bit of that pollen on each new flower they visit.
If you are wanting to start up a new beehive from scratch then you need what is called a colony of bees. This contains 1 queen bee, possibly some drone bees but also thousands of worker bees. These can be purchased here https://BuzzBee.com.au/bees .
You can not start up a new hive with just a queen bee, you need a whole community to support her to not only manage the hive, take care of the new brood but also to venture out to collect nectar and pollen.
If you buy a queen bee from us then you will buy a queen bee plus about half a dozen worker host bees that are used to take care of the queen during her journey to her new hive. They can be purchased here https://BuzzBee.com.au/queenbees .
At current we can send Queen bees to the following states within Australia:
* Australian Capital Territory
* New South Wales
* Northern Territory
* South Australia
(*Special permits required. A $30 surcharge is included within this order to cover the cost of inspection from Bio-security Tasmania)
Unfortunately at this time we can not send Queen Bees to Western Australia due to regulation rules.
Our queen bees all come un-marked. The reason being is they come straight from the bee yard and in addition many of our customers prefer receiving them unmarked. This allows customers to choose the colour marking of their choice or leave natural.
Yes there is but it takes time. The best solution is to replace the queen bee however be careful as this needs to be done correctly. The objective is for the colony of bees to accept a calmer queen bee and then breed her genies through the hive colony. For more information in replacing your queen bee in an aggressive colony read our blog about this.
The population decline of honey bees started in this country in the mid 1980’s when two new parasitic mites were introduced. Most of our bees have pretty good resistance now to one of these, the tracheal mite, but there are still some bees killed by them. The Varroa mite continues to kill our bees. We use plastic strips with chemicals in our hives to kill the mites. They have virtually wiped out the feral honey bees and the number of managed hives in Indiana has declined by almost two thirds.
The only good study on the size of the decrease was in California where about 90% of the feral colonies were killed by mites in the first two years after they arrived. This is happening all over the US and also in Europe and other places, like Mexico, Canada etc. It is a worldwide problem.
The Varroa mites came from the Asian honey bee, Apis cerana, which can tolerate the mites. There are about 6 species called honey bees, in the genus Apis. You cannot cross them with each other so we cannot breed the resistance into our bees. There are about 20 subspecies of our Apis mellifera, and they all look fairly similar.
Probably the major cause of the decrease is Varroa mites, and the viruses associated with what is called “parasitic mite syndrome”. The mites feed on pupae and ride on adults. They are big enough to see with the naked eye.
However, a recent phenomenon referred to as “colony collapse disorder” has been reported to kill many hives in 2006 and 2007. The set of symptoms includes rapid dwindling of the population, resulting in just a handful of bees, a queen and no dead bees around the hive. Much brood and honey may be present. It remains to be seen if this problem will persist. Similar phenomenon have been observed in the past and referred to as “disappearing disease” but no one has determined the cause.
– Greg Hunt, Purdue University
The small hive beetle, Aethina tumida Murray, is a pest of honey bees, that was first discovered damaging honey bee colonies in Florida in the spring of 1998. It is native to South Africa. When and how it arrived in North America is unknown; however, the earliest known collection was made in 1996 in Charleston, SC. By 1999 it was established in Florida, Georgia and North and South Carolina. In 2000, it was discovered in Alabama, Ohio, Maine, Michigan, South Dakota, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Adult beetles are 6 mm (1/4″) long, dark brown to black, flattened, oval to oblong in shape, with the head often tucked below the thorax. If the head is in view, the short antennae have a conspicuous club on the last segment. The larvae are elongate, whitish grubs which grow to 11 mm in length. They have tapered front and rear ends, and rows of small spines on their back. Beetle pupae are light tan to brown and can be found in the soil beneath and near the hive. Based on observations made in South Africa, eggs hatch in a few days and larvae complete development in 10 to 16 days. Pupation takes from three to four weeks. Several generations can occur within a year. Adults are strong fliers and easily disperse to new honey bee colonies to lay eggs. – John Skinner, University of Tennessee
There are two species of wax moth that cause damage to honey bee colonies by consuming beeswax as their larvae develop and in the process of making a pupal cocoon they score the wooden frames that hold the wax combs, weakening the wood. Damage becomes obvious as they produce large quantities of gray-white webbing and dark fecal material as they feed. The larger of the two species (3/4 inch long gray-brown adult), the greater wax moth, Gallaria melonella causes more damage and has a wider distribution while the lesser wax moth, Achroia grisella is more limited to warmer southern states. Wax moths are not a cause of colony death, they come in later after some other factor/malady has reduced the population of honey bees. Strong colonies of honey bees with large worker population can reduce numbers of wax moth to a level where they cause little damage. – John Skinner, University of Tennessee
Small hive beetle larvae often congregate in corners, possibly to retain heat. This clustering distinguishes beetle larvae from wax moth larvae that are found scattered throughout weak colonies. Other distinguishing characteristics include size. Beetle larvae never reach the size of mature wax moth larvae. Also, beetle larvae have three pairs of jointed, “true” legs located behind the head. Wax moth larvae have many small, fleshy, uniform legs along the length of the body. And the bodies of beetle larvae have tough exteriors while those of wax moth larvae are soft and easily penetrated. – John Skinner, University of Tennessee
Luckily Australia is currently the only inhabited continent in the world to be free of varroa mite. However many feel that it's only a matter of time before this leaks in. Its another reason why Australian Quarantine is so stringent in its bio-security rules, regulations and checks.
Varroa mites attack honey bee colonies as an external parasite of adult and developing bees, by feeding on hemolymph (fluid of the circulatory system similar to blood), spreading disease, and reducing their lifespan. Evidence suggests that Varroa and their vectored viruses affect the immune response of honey bees, making them more susceptible to disease agents.
Mature female Varroa mites survive on immature and adult honey bees (worker, drone, and rarely queen), are reddish brown, and about the size of a pin head. Male mites are a smaller size and tan colour, do not feed on bees, and are only found inside brood cells
No, but sometimes they can switch roles. Well, drones can’t, but the workers can. Nurse bees tend to be young and charged with the work of caring for the young and building honeycomb. If the need is great, foragers can take up this role, though they are not as good at it as the younger members of the colony.
On occasions if a colony might become queen-less, sometimes worker bees can lay eggs, and those hatch into drones because the eggs are unfertilised. That is a symptom of a problem and warrants immediate attention.
Yes, we ship all over the world. Shipping costs will apply, and will be added at checkout. We run discounts and promotions all year, so stay tuned for exclusive deals.
It depends on where you are. Orders are usually processed within 1 business day and the posted straight away.
The time for delivery depending upon the size of your order and your location. Usually most metropolitan area receive their orders within one business day, however rural areas can take anything up to 7 business days. Please note that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these delivery times can fluctuate.
International (Outside Australia):
The delivery time are very dependant upon the delivery infrastructure and services getting to and delivering with your country. These delivery times are further effected based on the COVID-19 Pandemic effecting markets, including lockdowns and social-distancing have an effect in the delivery times however many of our orders will be trackable so you can keep an eye on your order. Although this is the case usually overseas deliveries usually can take anywhere from 7-16 days. Delivery details will be provided in your confirmation email.
We use all major carriers, and local courier partners. That deliver based on the location the order is intended.
We always aim for make sure our customers love our products, but if you do need to return an order, we’re happy to help. Just email us directly and we’ll take you through the process.
Please note due to the nature of the product of bees, bees cannot be returned.
It depends on the creator and the product. All options are outlined on the product page, so look out for customization options there.
The bee feed that we stock has 20% pollen, is GMO Free and has 37% crude protein. This makes it perfect for our bees.
Please note as this contains pollen, some specific states with Australia have bio-security regulations preventing the sale of this product to those states. At current this includes Western Australia.