wet bee diary

Friday, August 17, 2001
Ah, here we go - the queen honeybee doesn't look like Jabba The Hutt:

"Anatomically, the queen is strikingly different from the drones and workers. Her body is long, with a much larger abdomen than a worker bee. Her mandibles, or jaws, contain sharp cutting teeth, whereas her offspring have toothless jaws. The queen has a curved, smooth stinger that she can use repeatedly without endangering her own life. The queen bee lacks the working tools possessed by worker bees, such as pollen baskets, beeswax-secreting glands, and a well-developed honey sac. Her larval food consists almost entirely of a secretion called royal jelly that is produced by worker bees. The average lifespan of the queen is one to three years."

this and the thing about Bee products below are from here

Honey bees also produce propolis, a gummy substance made from tree sap that has antibacterial properties, and royal jelly and pollen for human consumption. Honey bee venom is extracted for the production of antivenom therapy and is being investigated as a treatment for several serious diseases of the muscles, connective tissue, and immune system, including multiple sclerosis and arthritis.

Is there no end to the helpfulness of bees, eh?

Ooh, I like the look of this. If I have children they will only be allowed to read this and Ant And Bee.

and again from my girlfriend who has bees in her head:

"Today I saw a lady with a fabric shopping bag. It had
smiling cartoon bees all over it. One of the bees was
wearing a skirt and a crown. The queen bee. But real
queen bees just look like enormous jabba-the-hut style
larvae don’t they?

"The lady also had a tooled leather bum-bag. She looked
quite fierce and very church of england. I imagine her
sitting on committees and baking cakes."

I think she might be wrong about the Jabba The Hut queen bees. I think that's termites she's thinking of, and that queen bees are just like big bees. It's quite shameful that I don't know that, but it's all part of the bee learning process.

ahaaa... the british beekeping association!

Thursday, August 16, 2001
Eep - my girlfriend is putting me to shame in finding bee facts. She has a job, you see, and gets bored, whereas I sit on my arse in my bedroom listening to silly music all day and don't get bored. She has found these two ace things:

Bee with white whiskery moustache! from

The Blue Bee

The Blue Orchard Bee is only 2/3 the size of the honey
bee, that is approximately 1/2 of an inch. It is
black with a shiny blue metallic patch on its back and
has, just as the honey bee does, a double wing on each
side of its body. It has been noted that the blue bee
has been mistaken for a house fly and killed. It can
be distinguished from that of a house fly by it's
wings; it has a pair of wings on both side where a
house fly has one wing. The male Blue even sports a
white, whiskery moustache.

From the island of anguilla comes

Swarms of angry honey bees recently stung teachers and
students at the Albena Lake-Hodge Comprehensive School
to take an unscheduled one day holiday.

The school was closed after attempts recently by staff
at the Department of Agriculture to bring the bees
under control were largely unsuccessful.

A number of teachers and students sustained stings and
had to be treated at the Princess Alexandra Hospital.

Director of Agriculture, Mr Leslie V Richardson, was
hopeful that the problem would have been brought under
control by the end of May 12, 1998.

He noted that a number of bees had been captured while
the majority were being destroyed.

According to reports, the honey bees have been
inhabiting certain sections of the roofs of the school
since 1995 when Hurricane Luis destroyed a number of
hives at the Department of Agriculture

Wednesday, August 15, 2001
Woooh - this stirs up very early childhood memories and no mistake.

Monday, August 13, 2001
again from Aussie Melissa:

this fellow is the logo of b105fm, a country and western radio station from Cincinnati Ohio. There is an even nicer animation of him spitting out words, but I can't make it work on this blog as it is a Flash animation. The radio station's site is at b105fm.com, but you can't listen to it there, annoyingly.

My girlfriend found this on a UK bee discussion forum (I'm not sure of the address):

Bee parasites?
From: johnmaskell@compuserve
Date: 5/5/01
Time: 7:01:25 PM
Remote Name:

I have just found a large bumble bee (2-3cm) on my
lawn, seemingly writhing in discomfort. When I picked
it up it had a small bee (5 - 6 mm) attached to its
side. The large bee was trying to dislodge the small
bee with its leg but the small bee was very tenacious.
It appeared to be attacking the much bigger bee. We
finally separated the two and the large bee flew away.
The small bee is in a jam jar. Anyone know what it is
or what was happening? Not a bee-keeper or know
anything about them

I seem to have thoroughly infected her mind, as she was dreaming about bees the other night - she dreamed that she walked past what appeared to be a posh kids' "Montefiore-type" school, and outside were the remnants of a street party, and a beekeeper/caretaker was there with his rectangular beehives suspended from ropes - she considered this unusual, thinking that the standard beehive is the round michelin-man-resembling one seen in old pictures. She then thought she had walked into a dead end but someone showed her the way through the wall. She told me this as we were walking into Forest Hill in South London to get a coffee after visiting a museum (which had no bees in it); I was just explaining to her that most beehives are box-like in construction now, to allow rectangular frames of honeycomb to easily be lifted in and out of the hive, when a honeybee came and buzzed around our faces a few times. I remarked that it might be spying or eavesdropping on this conversation, and that by such careless talk I may have alerted the bees to humans' honey-harvesting techniques. I didn't really mean it though. Then we walked past a fish and chip shop called Bee's, but she wasn't impressed because we both needed the toilet and were getting short-tempered. Shortly after this, back in Dulwich, we saw a bush with both bumblebees and honeybees on, so I was able to clearly demonstrate the differences between them. We had been to the toilet, in a pub, by then, so were both more able to concentrate on the bees.

another gif file nicked from Aussie Melissa's Hunnybee.com site:

On Friday last I was really not with it - I thought I saw a bee outside a newsagent where I had just bought a newspaper for my train journey (though I had promised myself I wouldn't, and that I would finish reading the manuscript of my grandpa's pharmaceutical satire novel which I have had in my posession for ages), but it kept zipping around in my peripheral vision, and I never quite saw it clearly enough to even say whether it was a bumble or honey bee. Two minutes later I walked straight past the turning for Brighton Preston Park Station, despite having been there many many times before, and carried on bumbling (sorry) along for almost 10 minutes until I found myself right on the edge of town and turned back. It was doubly depressing because the walk took me past a housing development where a couple of years back I had been to a the party of lots of sporty rich kids in absolutely disastrous circumstances involving influenza, a witch, lucky lighters, mystery tablets, a collapsing relationship and non-specific urethritis - which has recently recurred, requiring me to take antibiotics which have rendered me really dozy, hence my inability to spot either the bee or the station. Anyway, when I came back from London I got off the train at Preston Park, and walked home, which obviously made me think of the aforementioned events... this reminded me of not-quite-seeing a bee, and just at this moment I glimpsed a bee, spun round to try and see it better and noticed a sign for "Beehive Under-5s Nursery" just opposite where I had thought I'd seen a bee 4 days earlier.