Reach & Read: 1492 and 40 Fun Fables

Forty Fun Fables: Tales that Trick, Tickle and Teach by Mitch Weiss and Martha Hamilton

This is an easy to read book of re-told fables, although not ‘fun’ like I hoped given tickle in the title. Content is directed at younger readers, there are some illustrations  and each tale provides the ‘moral of the story’ (pfew!) and has a nice section in the back with activities and ideas for parents and teachers, with some emphasis on how to apply to Common Core Standards. There are activities like turning them into small plays etc. None of the lessons are big life, leadership lessons nor how you might explain the ‘key learning ‘to your child. Example “It’s good to be nice, but watch your back.” Rather than consider this a no-go on reading this book, use it as the starting point for conversation. This means these fables as opposed to other books I have reviewed, are better aimed a older children, maybe 7-10 years old?  Although this might be best used a classroom book as there are better fable collections out there that might inspire more thinking and action in children and/or more fun to read together.

But, in staying true to intent, my favorite fable in this book, titled the Happy Man with Holes in His Bucket, reminds us that “you will be happier if you look for the good in a situation.” Thank you for the complementary copy in exchange for my honest review August House.

It also reminds me of a talent show performance (am I remembering this right?) in years gone way by of the tune, “There’s a Hole in the Bucket”…..  totally different message or the story after the man in the fable got married to Liza?


A few days late for Indigenous People Day, but, that is just how it happens. Due  in part to the fact that I do not work for the government and go to great lengths to avoid physically entering a bank so it wasn’t  a day off for me but mostly it is delayed due to hashtag life.

Interesting collection of stories, meant to be read in succession/entirety but still enjoyable in bits and pieces. The authors did a thorough job telling more of the story around 1492, correcting many of the falsehoods ‘we’ hold today regarding the memorable year. “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue…..” yes, true but there was a whole lot more going not that didn’t necessarily rhyme with blue (forget about flu). But this is not a historical fact repository rather an illustration of the power of storytelling in carrying communities and cultures forward.

This book has stories of various length and prose, some read more like poems, others are vignettes. The collection about the Canary Islands has me adding this destination to my vacation wish list but my favorite story, is the one about Black and Yellow (p. 175). I love all things bees especially this story is about the origin of the happy honeybee. Using magic and a desire to connect two disparate communities the Wise Man mixed up the work hard village (black) with the play hard village (yellow)  to create the black and yellow honey bee colony of today. Only part I am not sure I believe is the one about the tiny guitars (wink wink).  This text is thorough and would make a great class room resource or reference for a middle school history buff (or older). Thank you for the complementary copy in exchange for my honest review August House.


Other Fables and Folklore Tales on this site:

Diaper Skep for a Bee or Beehive Themed Shower: Tutorial

diaper shower bee skep 1

So many options and ideas out there for diaper cakes. They make an adorable centerpiece for a shower, customizable with ribbons and flare, and certainly are a needed gift commodity for new parents. (..would fit well with a Bee is for Baby themed shower I hosted.)  For an added creative, yet not too complicated, twist, why not turn your diaper center piece into something more unique. For this tutorial, I am sharing how I crafted a bee skep (or hive) from diapers. A skep is an old hive design made often of twisted straw. While, no longer a legal hive style in most places, it is still found frequently in bee designs and themes. Read more about the beauty of bees here.

The skep can use less diapers than a tiered cake which is good for cost-conscious but also if prospective parents use an alternative to disposables. In crafting this, I already came up with other modification options that I will note but would love to hear your ideas as well. I love bees!


  • Diapers in primarily newborn sizes (approx.. 20-25) and some size 1s (approx. 10)
  • String or twine to form circles (or wire)
  • Decorative twine or yarn to tie rolled up diapers
  • Double sided tape
  • Ribbon, several yards
  • Bee stickers, cutouts (print and cut clip art), stamps, buttons, whatever you want to decorate
  • Foam or straw wreath for base (optional), 12 to 16 inch diameter
  • Fabric strips (#3 of 2.5 x 40 in/ WOF) to wrap around wreath base (optional)
  • Flat pins
  • Tissue paper to fill in the skep to support.

Supply Notes: I used a mixed of newborn and size one for the first two layers but found the newborn to be easier to shape.  Wowsers, I also forgot how small they are compared to our current toddler dipe.  Also, Pampers newborn diapers had the most white space while the Huggies newborns had some green and cartoon accents. Not a big deal, just be aware that it might add accent colors or is an option for you to decide if you want. I used the diapers I was gifted so you see a little green and Winnie the Pooh every now and then.But hey, he liked honey.

Not necessary but I did roll up the rest of the diapers I had and stuffed them inside the bottom too layers. It added stability, more diapers to the gift but you could skip this step. I used some tissue to stuff and support the top layers. Again, you could use a mix of tissues and maybe a balloon etc. I was gifted the diapers for free on our local Buy Nothing group. You should definitely check out this organization if you haven’t already – a great way to meet and make community through random acts and asks of kindness.

The wreath base is also not necessary but can be an additional gift if decorated for nursery décor. It added stability as this particular skep was off to be mailed. The bigger the base the taller the skep. I used one that was 15 inches.

Ideally the diapers will be actually used on an adorable baby bottom, so no glue was used and maybe the few diapers with pins in them can be used with reckless abandon.


  • Create base if doing this step. Wrap with fabric strips secured with flat pins. Using a straw wreath would add another design element (homage to old English skeps) and you might want to wrap just with ribbon or twine to let it show through. Your creative call. Note, I started with yellow strips but didn’t have enough cut so switched to grey. They are out of a jelly roll.

diaper shower bee skep 10diaper shower bee skep 9

  • Start building the rings of the skep. Roll up the diaper over the string/twine or wire. I cut off a length about 36 inches for the first one, which is more than enough. Roll from the ruffley edge down. You might also want to decide which side is the ‘outside’ or right side if designs.

diaper shower bee skep 8

diaper shower bee skep 7

  • Tie the rolled up diapers either with one in the middle or two, on either end. I used colored twine (brown and yellow) to add a color accent. Colored twine is easy to find now in just about any shade. I put the tied twine on the part of the rolled up diaper that will face inside. Note in this photo how they are rolled around the white twine and tied. When you have added all the diapers for the ring, tie the loose ends tight enough to form a circle. Repeat this making each ring or layer smaller each time to create the taper.  The last ring was three newborn diapers and the very top, which you add at a later step is a newborn diaper rolled the long way and folded in half.

diaper shower bee skep 6

  • Create each layer and do not worry a ton about length, its diapers, they are forgiving. I tied each ring in knot that I could undo if I needed to add or substract or substitute a size 1 diaper for newborn if that made it fit the skep better. Stack your rings as you go to get a sense for how it is shaping up.
    • Here is the diaper count I used.
      • In the first ring I used: 2 Newborn and 6 size 1
      • Second ring: 2 Newborn and four size 1
      • Third ring: 7 Newborn and no size 1
      • Fourth ring: 4 Newborn and 1 size 1
      • Fifth ring: 5 Newborn
      • Sixth ring: 3 Newborn
      • Top: 1 Newborn
  • I had a lot of other diapers and wanted to stabilize the diaper skep. So using twine and a few rubber bands, rolled up more size one diapers (these are more useful to new parents anyways) and stood them end on end inside the first diaper ring, then put a layer around perimeter of open/flat diapers. In the picture you can see that I put the ring more in the middle. This way some of the rolled up standing diapers would be wedged in the wreath and also the second ring. Again, this is optional. I stuffed the rest of the skep inside with tissue paper.

diaper shower skep 4

  • Once you have your rings created and stacked, you can tape them on the inside or in between useing double-sided tape. I tried to alternate the spaces between diapers versus lining up. Now is the time to put in tissue or other filling to support shape.

diaper shower skep bee 5

  • Add the ribbon. This adds color, theme and also helps hold it together. I used flat pins to affix the ribbon (grosgrain) to the wreath and then pulled it up and into the top of the skep. You could also weave it in and out, or use twine etc. With the top I used a small section of ribbon to hold the diaper folded but not too tight.

diaper shower bee skep 3

  • Add some bees and maybe an entrance. I used my favorite bee stamp, espresso colored ink and some scrap kraft paper to create the bees in hexagons. There was much internal debate about circles versus hexagon. Yes, time I will never get back but well spent. You could also use stickers, scrapbooking cutouts, large buttons or print out some images.

diaper shower bee skep 2

  • The final product was about 12 inches tall. For future skeps I might roll the diapers even tighter to make more rings, or use a more narrow ribbon to hold together and ideally all the diapers would be white but knowing the green is there because of gift from Buy Nothing, makes me smile. The expectant mama used to be in the same group before moving away too. Enjoy!

diaper shower bee skep 1


Other Diaper Centerpiece Baby Shower Ideas:

Little’s Bee Room: Curated and Created

IMG_7705 copy
– panoramic of grey and yellow room for Little Bee

Well, it only took me about a year to push publish the last post about Little Bee’s nursery, albeit, it is hard to use the word nursery now but the ‘decor; and space are growing.  Future modifications will be to keep making it more ‘montessori’ but for now, it is a space for some  stories and sleep. The most fun part of putting this room together was curating and creating all the art and decorations(see post Fresh Nursery Wall Art Ideas and this one Simple Stitched Paper Garland or Bunting) but I also made simple custom curtains to help darken. This room will continue to be a work in progress as he grows.


To make the curtains, I used some simple grey heavy fabric curtains from Ikea. I hemmed them to the window length and then sewed two strips of coordinating bee and yellow honey comb fabric along the bottom to match the theme. I did the same thing (sewing coordinating fabric) to the tie backs. Easy peasy!

PFew! Checked that off my list.

In the Hive – Summer is Official!


Continuing my resolution to be a better beekeeper and bee steward, 2014 marks my fourth season of bee herding and while earning my Apprentice Badge adds a nice bit of flare, beekeeping and stewarding is more about doing than passing a test, a lot like life and career …. There is no GPA in the hives, its pass or pass with “opportunity” for improvement. I don’t think you can really fail. Even if your hives died, your honey was full of bee legs and you got stung on your lucky mole 13 times – you still probably helped educate friends and families about bees, aided in pollination and have frames of honey ready to feed back to your next package in the spring (unless disease took the bees). This year I am only running one hive due to some upcoming “competing commitments”. I might try catching a swarm or splitting a hive this year if the opportunity arises. The In The Hive tasks for Summer (June/July) are all about letting the girls do what they do, keep them and nearby humans safe and make some scholarly observations.

Worker Bee Tasks

  • Inspect the Hives: When inspecting on a nice warm sunny afternoon, you should see evidence of the queen laying eggs, bees bringing in pollen and the honey stores building up.
  • Watch for grasses, flowers etc growing up and blocking the entrance to the hive. Remove them (I like to do this early in the morning before they are active).
  • Take note of brood versus drone cells. Drone cells look like pencil erasers. You do not want a bunch of loafing drones. You need strong female workers to forage and raise brood. You might need replace your queen (or let the hive do it for you) if it looks like she is only laying drones.
  • Don’t forget to track your activities and observations!

Queen Bee Ideas

  • Watch for swarms and booming hives: Activity and colony size pick up in spring and by now your hives should be pretty busy. Swarming is still a risk but perhaps a little less than springtime. Know what your local beekeeping organization has available as resources. In my neck of the woods, PSBA has a helpful page with a call list, tips and talking points (e.g. the bees aren’t angry).
  • Do not panic if you see lots of bees covering the outside of the hive. They are probably just hot and helping to regulate the hive temperature.
  • Know what nectars and pollens are available: Not all flowers and other plants produce nectar and the weather, especially Seattle rain, can often make it hard for the forager bees to get out – remember Junuary, although for sure there is a much greater variety of flowers and plants this time of year. My lavender is in full swing but just like the past years, the honeybees do not frequent it, only the bumbles…. Here is what the science says about this, other than we don’t live in Provence. Sigh.
  • You have to eat, so make a honey recipe. Here is one of my most recent experiments.

Drone On

  • Attend your local beekeeping organization meeting. Great way to stay on top of the bee season.
  • Busy time of year for beeks!

Pollinator Champion

  • Make a simple Bee Waterer: just place some marbles in a dish and fill with water (picture below). The bees will be able to land on the marbles and drink, without drowning. You can use rocks and sticks as well.
  • I hope you celebrated National Pollinator Week! It is never too late and I try to celebrate them every week. If you are even the tiniest bit politically inclined there are several government actions recently set in motion to save the pollinators. Learn about them, maybe sign in support.
  • Enjoy this quick video of a honey bee emerging from its cell.

 Remember that while the Summer Solstice is the beginning of summer it is in a way the beginning of the end of bee season……

A swarm of bees in May is worth a load of hay; A swarm of bees in June is worth a silver spoon; A swarm of bees in July isn’t worth a fly.

In the Hive: Early Early Spring

Continuing my resolution to be a better beekeeper and bee steward, 2014 marks my fourth season of bee herding and while earning my Apprentice Badge adds a nice bit of flare, beekeeping and stewarding is more about doing than passing a test, a lot like life and career …. There is no GPA in the hives, its pass or pass with “opportunity” for improvement. I don’t think you can really fail. The “In the Hive” tasks for early early spring or still winter frankly for many (ok – how about February – March-ish) are still mainly out of the hive, but important nonetheless.

Surprise snow in Seattle

Worker Bee Tasks

  • Keep entrance clear of debris, snow, dead bees etc
  • Inspect the hive if there is an unseasonably warm day. Good time to assess food stores, tell if the queen is starting to lay a lot and prepare to maybe feed or add a box. Be quick though.
  • If it snows, you can also tell how the hive is doing by watching how the snow melts on the lid. Melt first in the center before it melts elsewhere? Probably means a good cluster. Evenly melts along with all the other snow. Might mean a weak cluster.
  • Get ready for your pollinator friendly garden, order seeds and think about some cool weather starts indoors.

Queen Bee Ideas

  • By now you should have ordered your package bees. If not, it’s probably not too late but will take more leg work and probably do-re-mi on your part. For 2014, I am only going to run two hives, my two Langstroth. I’ve concluded my top bar hive design is suboptimal and I want to take some time to research and revitalize for 2015. It is hard to tell if both my hives will make it, so I am going to gamble and just order one package of bees.
  • Set up your journal or hive tracking plan. I am going to use this year vs. handwriting.
  • Make a honey recipe. Here are just a few simple ways I have used honey in recipes. Sky is the limit.

Drone On

    • Read a good novel with some bee or honey influences. This month, I recommend The Zookeeper’s wife, not for its abundance of bee references but for the interesting discovery of bees and Nazi rule.
    • Study and take your state’s apprentice bee keeper exam. Here is the link for Washington.
    • Attend your local beekeeping organization meeting. They will likely be doing a lot of education and prepping for the upcoming busy season.
    • Play beekeeping roulette. Flip through your beekeeping texts and chose random passages. My favorite book for this? ABC and XYZ of Bee Culture 1975. Check out this great illustration on the evolution of hives in America: more abodes likely than homes and most would definitely not pass the removable frame requirement. Beautiful creations however. I wonder what a history of hive designs will look like in 2075?

Pollinator Champion

  • You can promote bee keeping and pollination in so many ways, other than keeping them personally.
  • Find out what local organizations are doing to strength our pollinator populations. I recently learned about The Common Acre. Check them out.
  • Investigate Mason Bees as an alternative.

Just for fun

  • Download some Bee Apps. Smart phone plus propolis is not a good idea, but hey it’s still pretty chilly and you aren’t fiddling in the hives much.
    • Warning – some of these apps are time sucking games of mindlessness! Um, it is all about raising awareness, I mean…. J
    • Here is a review of some apps that I have tried out…

Remember that your geographical location will influence much of your hive management techniques, so keep that in mind when researching. Connect with a local group or beekeeper. I keep bees in Seattle, which seems to be damp and soggy and not too cold this time of year, compared to say the Midwest, where the bees are still experiencing below freezing weather, with some sporadically warmer days.

My strength was renewed when I tasted a little honey. 1 Samuel 14:29

Other Hive Posts: In the Hive: Late Winter/January – February

In the Hive: Winter Feeding


This year I decided to feed in the winter, due in part to the fact that my hives have continued to seem “busy” with the weather in the 40s-50s for the last few months, except one cold snap a while back. I am worried that they don’t have enough food stores. Based on my research I am going to feed dry sugar (also known as Mountain Camp method) to the bees.


  • Does not introduce excess moisture into hive (Seattle, remember)
  • Temperature does not impact bees ability to consume
  • Fondant was more work than I was interested in
  • Do not have extra frames of honey available.
  • Does not seem to have issues with robbing, molding or major mess
  • Simple

How? Right or wrong, this is what I did.

  • Rounded up some chicken assistants.
  • Placed an empty box on top of the inside cover
  • Laid down a piece of dry paper, or newspaper, on about half of the cover, but not covering the hole so the bees could come up. The edges curved up. Be sure to not have them sticking outside the hive as it will act as a wick.
  • Poured on about 6 cups of sugar. I will likely need more but wanted to start small just to see
  • Spritzed the sugar once with water, remember the issue of moisture. I only did this in Betty, Florence seems to have some condensation on the lid already.
  • Put the telescoping lid on top of the box
  • Wait and see. I will follow up next weekend or so to see the progress.
Dry Sugar Bee Feeding


I also inspected the hives (weather/time: mid-afternoon when the fog was lifted and they had some sun on them). My two Langstroth hives, Florence and Betty, still had bees coming in going although Florence had an accumulation of dead bees at the entrance that I cleaned out with a long chop stick. This allowed me to sweep further back into the hive more delicately than a hive tool. Betty had dead bees but they were piled out in front on the ground. My top bar, NoBeHive, is empty, not even dead bees, so I am guessing they were a snowbird colony and headed south for the winter (this is not real – but they are gone). I will open it up more in the spring and investigate further

Dead bees at entrance of Florence, the hive.

It was great to see bees coming back with pollen on their legs. Not sure where they are getting it from (maybe my empty top bar?) Betty seemed “louder” when I opened up the hive but I am a little worried as it seems that they were all hanging out in the top box but if that is where their food and some brood are, then I am good. I didn’t open up the hive all the way though – I will when it warms up more.

Busy bees in Betty, the hive


Reach & Read: The Secret Life of Bees

The Secret Life of Bees By Sue Monk Kidd – a book review

This is a truly heartwarming story of a young awkward girl, finding her stride, and designing a future by learning about her past and her values. A honey house, black Madonna, beekeeping lessons and some lost and gained love fill the lives of the protagonist, Lily Owens. She finds herself in a the home as opposed to house of three Calendar Sisters (May, June and August) after a “stunt” that would get you in big, retain-a-lawyer-trouble today.

Favorite Unbee Quote: “Lily Melissa Owens, your jar is open.” [p.41]             What’s that? Megan, your jar is open? Let me take advantage of that…….

I think if you like The Help, you will enjoy this novel, and vice versa – apologies to the authors if this is insulting to either – shouldn’t be, just sayin’. Similar feel in terms of setting, challenges and characters, yet Sue Monk Kidd adds in the glory of bees and beekeeping. It is the perfect winter off-season read for a lazy beekeeper or pollinator fan. Sue also includes the gift of great beekeeping quotes with each chapter – aka “the secrets”. In sum: Fills you up with goodness, like eating honeycomb right out of the hive on a hot summer afternoon.

The Honey Song [sang by May p 83]
Place a beehive on my grave
and let the honey soak through.
When I’m done and gone,
that’s what I want from you.
The streets of heaven are gold and sunny,
but I will stick with my plot and a pot of honey.
Place a beehive on my grave
and let the honey soak through.

Tote Bag Makeover: From Meh to Bee-utiful!


It is no secret that I love bees. When the hospital gift shop displayed tote bags with a giant queen bee on them, I was first in line. However, the bag was bigger/floppier than I would like and the straps were pretty cheap and took away from the focal point. But I am a crafty lady and in about an hour, transformed the tote into a more shapely and stylish shoulder bag. Doing this makeover without a sewing machine would be possible but maybe more frustrating that its worth….. The main skill you need is courage – to just cut off those cheap straps and replace them!

Simple Tote Bag Makeover:


  • Tote bag in need of some sprucing
  • Needle and floss or heavy duty thread
  • 2 buttons or beads
  • 16 -24 inches of wide ribbon for bow
  • 3 feet of wide nylon mesh for handles
  • Scissors, fray check, pliers
  • Dog to hide in your photos (I spy with my little eye…)
  • Clutter all over your workspace so it shows up in photos


  • These will really vary with the state of your tote but the general principles are to
    • Cut off the cheap handles. Use pliers to remove the brads and the bottom part of the handle. I put some fray check around the small hole left behind. Position the new handles over the small hole. You might need to patch the hole if larger or the fabric seems to fray. This particular tote was burlap with laminate lining, so pretty strong.
    • Cut the nylon mesh for the new straps to just longer than you want the handles to be. I suggest pinning them and trialing out the length before cutting and sewing. Fold over the raw edges, use some fray check and position the handles. Sew them down using a zig zag stitch – once across the folded bottom part and the other about two inches up the strap and about ½ inch from the top of the bag. This is great for reinforcement.
    • Gather or fold the edges to add structure make the bag “fatter” instead of wider. This tote had a flat bottom, so I made the folds a quarter of the width. Using heavy duty thread, stitch them together towards the top. The stitching for this bag is meant to look like lacing.
    • Tie the ribbon on and fashion a lovely bow. Place a few stitches to keep it secure.

Kate Spade doesn’t need to worry about her job but I enjoy using my big bee tote and the sense of accomplish I feel from “hacking” it into something better.

The Bee People: Chapters 15 & 16

Chapter 15: Honey and Honey Dew

Miss Apis is probably as proud of her hive she gets stored full of honey and bee-bread, as your mother is of her pantry when she gets the jelly and preserves done in the fall […]

It is a very cunning art to take nectar from the flowers and in one’s honey-sac change it into delicious honey. It is not every creature that can do that. In fact, I know of but one or two besides Miss Apis and her near relatives that can. Although the nectar is changed to honey, it still retains its own flavor, so that the bee-keepers can often tell by the taste what kind of flowers honey is made from.

Miss Apis is very particular about the quality of her honey […] White clover honey is delicate and delicious, and bees are very fond of visiting white clover heads. Honey bees do not gather much from the red clover because the flower tubes are too long for their tongues […] Sweet clover yields good honey […] The fragrant flowers of the basswood are great favorites with the bees […] Most people who live in the north are familiar with the dark-colored buckwheat honey and those who live far south know the clear delicate orange-blossom honey […]

Miss Apis sometimes gathers other sweets than flower-juice. I am sorry to say she will even steal the honey from other bees if she can get it […] She does collect honey-dew, though, and sometimes will fill her hive full of honey made from it. Probably you do not know what honey-dew is […] You have all heard of the aphides, the ants’ cows? You know they are tiny little insects with two horns on their backs. They give out a sweet liquid of which the ants are very fond. We are told that some ants take care of the aphides, protect them and treat them as if they were indeed little insect cows […] An aphis puts her bill into the skin of a leaf and there she stays and sucks out its juice which you can imagine is not very good for the leaf. Some of the juice […] is changed into sweet liquid the ants are so fond of; and if there are no ants to eat it, the aphids are obliged to get rid of it, and they squirt it out in the air […] Such leaves are sticky to the touch […] covered with this honey-dew […]

[…] Bees like the honey-dew very much, and I have eaten honey made from it, but I must confess I did not like it. Some honey-dew is said to make very good honey, but I prefer to have the bees bring my honey from flowers.

Chapter 16: Cradle-Cells

Some of Miss Apis’s wax cells serve the purpose of preserve-jars, as we have seen. Indeed, they all do, when we come to think of it. They do not all preserve honey and bee-bread, however […] The cradle-cells of the drones are the same as the honey-cells, but the worker cells are about one-fifth smaller […] The cradle-cell of the queen is not shaped like the other cells, but somewhat like a thimble. It opens at the bottom and a great deal larger. The queen goes about and lays an egg in each cell. She first puts in her head and examines the cell with her antennae, as if to make sure it is all right. This done, she deposits an egg in the bottom of the ell. She lays two kinds of eggs, one kind being what we call fertilized, the other kind unfertilized. The fertilized eggs always hatch into workers or queens, the unfertilized always hatch into drones […]

In about three days the eggs hatch, but not into pretty downy bees with gauzy wings […] this little larvae is born hungry and the kind nurse-bees, knowing that, feed with with plenty of […] bee milk […] This bee milk is manufactured by the nurses in glands in their heads; it is very nutritious, and is the same as the royal jelly with which the queen if fed […] In a few days it has grown so large that it almost fills its cradle-cell […] I doubt if you could guess what the nurse-bees do to prevent it [grow entirely out of bounds]. They simply stop feeding it […] But bee-babies do not die; they wait to see what will happen next […] She caps over the cell of the baby-bee […] they only need to be kept warm […] [until] it changes from a larva to a pupa […] something halfway between the two […]

You may like to know that larva is a Latin word, and means ghost, or mask […] Pupa means […] doll. […] Baby Apis remains a pupa for several days, then she makes up her mind […] and gnaws a hole […] in the cap […] then out comes, a lovely young bee, light-colored and downy with beautiful gauzy wings […]

The queen bee is hatched from an egg exactly like that of the worker-bees. But in this egg, as we know, lies in a large cell, and when it hatches, the nurse-bee fairly stuff the queen larva with food […] It is because she eats so much of this that she develops into a queen. Sometimes the queen in a hive dies or gets lost. Then what do you suppose the workers do? Why, go to work and make a new queen of course.

It is a terrible thing for a hive to be without a queen, and the bees are very unhappy when it happens. But if they have eggs or very young larvae they need not despair. They enlarge a worker cell […] Then they feed the infant thus promoted to royalty upon queen’s food and, lo!, the little creature becomes a queen […]

It takes all the eggs three days to hatch, but the queen larvae attains its growth in five and half days, while it takes the worker six and the drone six and a half […] If you do a little sum in addition, you will find that it takes sixteen days for an egg to become a queen-bee, twenty one days for it to become a worker and twenty-four days for a drone egg to become a drone […]

Key Points:

  • There are many flavors of honey, what is sold commercially is often clover honey
  • Honey color and flavor is influenced by nectar and hence, varies over the season
  • Funny stories exist about blue honey, as bees were near a candy factory

If you look closely you can see a pupa (purple pupa eyes – tongue twister) in this bit of comb I scraped off.

Not exactly what you want to find in your hive, but this picture shows the drone combs. They look like pencil erasers, versus worker bee cells that are flat or the larger queen cells that look like peanuts. I saw some this year but didn’t get a photo. Darn!

I share with you words and illustrations from the public domain M. Morely book – The Bee People. Published 1899; designed for third to fifth grade readers with goal to learn “how to observe” but plenty for adults to learn as well. Life lesson, bee truths and a gauge to see if we have made progress over the last century. If you find something interesting take 5 minutes and do some extra research. Bees are amazing creatures!

Excerpts –