Scenes from the hive

During the last workshop, we had a photo-session with bees at the hive. While it is not generally recommended that instructors take images for their own purposes during a workshop, the participants were all comfortable around their subjects and knew what they were looking for in photos, so between offering advice and checking their images, I managed to get a few shots of my own.

While planning  the workshop, I reviewed the work of bee photographers Stephen Dalton*, Eric Tourneret and Alex Wild. A couple of weeks before the workshop I contacted Alex and asked for advice, and he generously provided detailed notes on how to best work with the hive. I knew that with a subject like domesticated bees that basic shots of bees massed on the comb are very common, and what I wanted to find were details of behaviour, and, if possible, records of parasites and diseases. While the relatively short time I had to take photographs and the weather (windy and cool) not being ideal, I did manage a few interesting photos.

Worker bee emerging from cell

Worker bee (Apis mellifera) emerging from cell

My favourite is this shot of an emerging worker bee. She was noticed chewing her way out of a cell, so I quickly swapped lenses from the 100mm macro to the MP-E65mm and took a few shots. In a non-training situation, I would have photographed the complete emergence, but duty called.

Honeybee trophallaxis: the mouth-to-mouth transfer of food between members of a community.

Honeybee trophallaxis: the mouth-to-mouth transfer of food between members of a community.

Then I found these two, nicely separate from the mass of bees, who were involved in trophallaxis. I would have preferred a comb-level shot, which wasn’t possible from my position,  but this bird’s-eye view clearly shows the exchange.


honeybee 20160428_0139

Daisy Chain o’ Bees

Before a frame was going to be returned to the hive, this bee-chain was noticed, spanning the gap between the other two frames. I snapped off a few frames..


honeybee butt 20160428_0113

Bee Butt

And as a counter-point to the first image, this bee is head-down in a cell. She could be feeding a little bee-larva, or cleaning the cell in preparation for a new egg or for pollen or honey storage.

Later, a bee-sting sequence. Ouch!

†Honeybees from Close Up by Arthur M. Dines; photographs by Stephen Dalton. London : Cassell, 1968.
This entry was posted in Alberta, Apidae, Behaviour, Canada, Canon, Edmonton, Equipment, Hymenoptera, Insect, Lenses, macro, MP-E65, photography, Season, Spring, Workshop and tagged , , , , .


  1. Andrea Jackson 4 May, 2016 at 1:26 PM #

    Your “daisy chain o bees” is an award winner in my books, Adrian! Wow! Great images all!

    II have an affinity for taking butt shots too! Snort!

  2. Annie Pang 5 May, 2016 at 1:26 AM #

    Wow Adrian! Fantastic shots. I was amazed at that daisy-chain you got. Never seen anything like it. Love the butt shot!! Wonderful work….so well done.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared.