Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Honey bee castes

Unlike bumblebees or solitary bees, honey bees overwinter as a colony.  In each hive now is one queen with a few thousand workers, all female.  The queen will produce new males (drones) in the spring by laying unfertilised eggs.  I have had these three bees, one of each caste, in my freezer since last summer.  (Replacing the queen is the method of dealing with a vicious colony of bees, as mine were.)  This is my first serious attempt at macrophotography.  The bees are perhaps slightly scruffy and I can't change their posture.  Nevertheless they are fascinating creatures when viewed close up.

This is the queen.

This is the drone.

And this is the worker bee.

Here are all three together, the queen above and the drone below.

The photos were taken with a Canon 650D, a Canon EF 100mm 1:2.8 IS USM macro lens and a Nissin MF18 ring flash.

I am certainly inspired to do more of this.  If you want to see really good macro photos of bees of all sorts, especially solitary bees, visit Ed Phillips' website and blog here.

1 comment:

  1. Nice. What I need is a photo of a resin bee, preferably one applying resin to its entrance hole. They are not native here, so its hard to find a good pic. I'll put in my order now :)