Sunday, September 19, 2010

Bees have Mummies Part II

Yuck! What are these?

(Click the photo to make it bigger so you can see).

This a mixture of stuff taken from the bottom of a bee hive in spring.
There's bits of pollen, dropped by the bees, bits of chewed up beeswax, the occasional wing or parts of dead bees and a pile of dried up mummified bee larvae.
The white and gray coloured bits are mummies made from dead bee larvae.

It's a sad but true fact that there is a fungus that can sometimes get in a bee hive. It's called Chalkbrood and it can infect a hive in spring if there's too much moisture inside the hive.
Beekeepers call baby bees that are at the larvae (worm) stage brood.
The Chalkbrood fungus eats away at these larvae brood while they're in their honeycomb cells.
Slowly it eats them up and turns them into hard white mummified corpses that look like pieces of chalk.
That's how Chalkbrood got its name.

A hive with the Chalkbrood fungus doesn't have to die. A beekeeper can ensure it gets more ventilation and that help to dry things up.

Did you know that bees can also have another kind of Mummy that is in a real tomb just like an Egyptian Pharaoh?

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