Tag Archives: Honey

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.

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Posted in Alberta, Apidae, Behaviour, Canada, Canon, Edmonton, Equipment, Hymenoptera, Insect, Lenses, macro, MP-E65, photography, Season, Spring, Workshop Also tagged , , , |

Big Bumble

I am in the process of  tweeking a macro photography presentation for tomorrows workshop at the Ellis Bird Farm, when I came across this pic. Photographed in the front garden, this Bombus nevadensis queen is visiting the flowers of blue indigo (Baptisia australis), a favorite of the many smaller leaf-cutter bees we have had in the garden this year. The E.H. Strickland Entomological Collection page has a great description on the life history of this bee, authored by L. Vandervalk (2011) and based on D.V. Alford’s book, Bumblebees (1975):

Once a suitable nest has been found, the queen constructs an apple sized hollow structure within it. The queen deposits her eggs in parallel rows within a mound of pollen on the floor of the structure; she also constructs a honeypot for storing nectar. Newly hatched larvae begin consuming the pollen mound, requiring the queen to continue provisioning it. The queen periodically incubates her brood by sitting upon it and respiring to generate body heat. The larvae spin cocoons in the final instars, as do the pupa; the cocoons may be re-used later for storage of pollen or nectar. Upon pupation, the emerged adults take nectar from the honey pot. Once the nest consists of the new young workers and the queen it can be considered a social unit and is referred to as a colony.

Yes, this queen incubates the young! Read the complete description at the species page.

Thanks to Gary Anweiler for the ID!

(3 July, 2014. Canon T2i with Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens with a single diffused Canon Speedlite 270EX II. ISO 200, 1/100 sec. @ f11.)

Posted in Alberta, Apidae, Apinae, Camera, Canada, Canon, Equipment, Flash, garden, Hymenoptera, Insect, Lenses, macro, Pollination, Season, Summer Also tagged , , , , , , |

The Week on Sunday #40

Welcome to another Week on Sunday!

With winter fast approaching, my mind begins to turn to how I will continue to explore the macro world from inside the home. While I do have a lot of  accumulated photographs to work on, I know I will soon be itching to bring out the camera and face the fascinating world of bugs again. This winter, photomicroscopy and focus-stacking will fill some of the time, but I know that I will  be missing field trips out in the real green and pulsing world before long.

♦ Here’s a look at how one person spends his time in the house…

♦ See more of Boris’s beautiful macro and video work at his website: The Godfroid Brothers.

♦ A detailed look at Sam Droege’s macro focus stacking set-up at Coleoptera.  This includes a photo of the set-up used by the U S Army Institute of Public Health. (I, despite the news lately, can’t help but be impressed by a country that invests in bug photography! Are you listening Canada?)

♦ Another killer of pines hitchhikes on Beetle: this time a tree-killing worm.

♦ And to end this 40th edition of  The Week on Sunday–Bill Moyers and a short documentary on the plight of bees…

Bill presents and introduces the short documentary Dance of the Honey Bee. Narrated by Bill McKibben, the film takes a look at the determined, beautiful and vital role honey bees play in preserving life, as well as the threats bees face from a rapidly changing landscape. “Not only are we dependent on the honey bee for much of what we eat,” says Bill, “there is, of course, a grace and elegance they bring to the natural world that would diminish us all were they to disappear.”


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Posted in Apidae, arthropods, Autumn, Bugs, Coleoptera, Documentary, Environment, Feature Photographer, Focus stacking, Gastropoda, Hymenoptera, Insect, invertebrates, Links, macro, Mollusca, photography, Science, Season, Web LInk, Week on Sunday Also tagged , , , , , , , |

The Week on Sunday #35

Welcome to this Week on Sunday!

♦ Today I will lead off with a preview of an amazing documentary – More Than Honey. It takes a look at the lives of bees and beekeepers in this era of Colony Collapse Disorder.

♦ You can learn more about More than Honey in the review at Scientific American.

♦ Not new ‘news’ but good news for fans of Stephen Dalton, the master of in-flight photography. Stephen developed his equipment and skills in the 1970’s to produce amazing books with photographs of in-flight birds, bats and insects. He is back with digital technology and practicing his magic again. In 2012 he was featured in MicroMagic at Festival Photo Montier, and now his work can be enjoyed at a more permanent gallery at the Cob Lane Gallery at Holly Farm, Ardingly, Sussex. Surely this should be a point of ‘pilgrimage’ for all those who were inspired to take up high-speed photography by Stephen!

JUMPING SPIDER (Philaeus chrysops)Corfu. © Stephen Dalton. Used with Permission

JUMPING SPIDER (Philaeus chrysops) Corfu. © Stephen Dalton. Used with permission.

Be sure to visit his website and his blog Life at Holly Farm for more information.

That’s all for this week!

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Posted in Apidae, Arachnid, Art, Blog Link, Bugs, Hymenoptera, Insect, Inspiration, International, macro, photography, Pollination, Salticidae, Summer, Web LInk, Week on Sunday Also tagged , , , , , , |

The Week on Sunday 6

♦ I know that it is considered bad form for a foreign power to try to influence elections, but this Canadian advises Americans to put their money on Obama. This man is civilized! If you don’t believe me, take a look at this video, for goodness sakes!

Beehive at the Whitehouse! And what does he do with the golden harvest? Some of it goes into the Presidential Beers. That’s right folks, he’s not your namby-pamby, pinky-finger-in the air wine sniffer. He doesn’t waste his time fussing about the fermented juice of the grape, as if there is any real difference in taste between California plonk and a Chateau Latour…
No, his drink is ale, that most ancient product of barley, sustainer of all the great tribes that have annoyed the wine drinking civilizations for eons. Sure he may have failed on a few promises, and he may be having troubles correcting the previous Republican government’s screw-ups, but, by golly, true to his Celtic heritage: this man appreciates ale…

Vote Obama. Keeper of bees. Drinker of ale. What on earth could Americans want that is better than that?

♦ One of the more interesting articles to come out of the week was the news about what some are calling the “Anternet“, where the food foraging behaviour of a species of harvester ant are being likened to the same type of  feedback that determines how information is transmitted on the internet. See the paper at PLOS.

♦ A new species of stick insect from the Philippines. It has a skunk like trait, and some other enigmatic features…

♦ The bug season is beginning to wind-down for us northern bugsters. Terry Thormin, who blogs at Vancouver Island Nature, has done a wrap-up post on the dragonflies of Vancouver Island. We eagerly await his advice on how he gets those in-flight shots…

♦ And, to end this higgledy-piggledy collection of links…
– While it is all good and well to photograph bugs visiting flowers and sitting benignly on leaves, what is really exciting is coming across new or seldom heard-of  types of behaviour. In this post at 6legs2many, see spiders raiding an ant’s nest….

Share the excitement in the video below, and visit 6legs2many for photographs!

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Posted in Apidae, Behaviour, Blog Link, Bugs, Formicidae, Hymenoptera, Insect, macro, Phasmatodea Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |