The birth of a bee hive: A rare inside view

Note: We refer to the worker bees as male a couple of times in the narration and of course we’re wrong. All worker bees are female. Thanks to our many diligent commenters for setting us straight. —————————————-

During the early summer of 2019 a swarm of bees suddenly took over one of our owl boxes. Only a day or so earlier a pair of ringtails had spent the day happily canoodling in it but, as you’ll see in this video, within an hour of the arrival of the first few bees the owl box was indisputably a hive.

The bees arrived by the thousands. We watched it happen and were astonished. In a matter of minutes a few bees had become dozens, and then hundreds, and then there were so many that they blocked the camera. They clung together and hung from the ceiling of the box, creating a living bee sculpture that gently swayed and pulsated.

By day 9 they’d begun to build honeycomb on the front of the camera and we watched them creating perfect hexagonal wax chambers and filling them with honey.

This video shows an inside-the-hive view of what bees do.

A brief note on the box: We call the box an owl box because we built it for a screech owl, but actually no owl has ever tried it out. We’ve had squirrels, wrens, and all kinds of bugs – and the ringtails treated it like a Motel 6 – but no owls. Now it’s a bee box.

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