A good day to you, my readers. Have you been wondering how my mailbox bee colony has been? I’m happy to report that the bees are doing just fine. They seem to be very happy in their surroundings, and I’ve even noticed a few of the more adventurous members of the hive starting to explore the new mailbox I built alongside the one they colonized! I’ve been thinking of buying a “Web Cam” and have it aimed at the colony so all of you can see just how good they’re doing any time of day or night. I’m worried about putting the wires and electronics outdoors though. Water, condensation, and humidity might get in and start a fire, or pollen might obscure the lens. I’m going to have to ask them down at the Radio Shack to see if they sell a waterproof/bee-proof model of “Web Cam”.
After doing some research on the Internet, I tentatively identified the bees as either mason bees or carpenter bees, not honeybees as I originally believed. I based this on their plumpness, which is more characteristic of mason and carpenter bees, as well as the fact that they seem to be boring into the wooden parts of their mailbox colony.
Other than plumpness, another key difference between my mason/carpenter bees and honeybees is that the masons/carpenters produce neither honey nor wax. By going in for a harvest, I thought I would put my tentative identification to the test. Now I don’t smoke, but my old buddy Hiram does, so I invited him over to blow cigar smoke into the mailbox to calm the bees. They seemed calm enough, so I reached in but couldn’t find any evidence of honeycomb, which is consistent with masons/carpenters. But I’m thinking that if they are honeybees, maybe they just need some more time to build their honeycomb. As I was pulling my hand out of the mailbox, I got a few stings, but nothing I couldn’t handle. Even if they do turn out not to be honeybees, I could never get rid of my hive. I’ve grown too attached. Even Hiram was impressed, and he’s usually a good judge when it comes to whether or not things are impressive (He has a computer, but he’s not online yet, or else I would certainly add him to my “blog roll”). Besides, I read that mason bees and carpenter bees are good pollinators for fruits and vegetables, so they’ll be good for my victory garden. When I go outside in a few minutes, I’ll tell the bees you said “hello”!
Until next time!