This is burr comb, a glue like substance honeybees use to seal up bee hives. It's covered in fresh honey but I'll get to that in a minute. When I spotted this honeybee drone appearing to be broken in half in front of Gertrude, one of my two honeybee hives, I was worried.
As a new Missouri backyard beekeeper in 2010 celebrating my first year with my two bee hives, I had become addicted to reading everything about honeybees, including horrible doomsday articles about the collapse of our world because honeybees are dying from some terrible diseases no one can identify.
A beekeeping friend told me not to worry and speculated this may be a male bee deprived of protein by the hive because worker bees are raising bees and they don't put up with laggards. Drones, male bees, apparently do nothing but chase the queen bee around so the hive is a bit merciless when it comes to shooing out bees that don't contribute.
Don Nelson, from University of Iowa Extension Service, said this may be a deformed bee. In a hive with 40,000 bees, there are bound to be a few who develop less than genetically-correct. So it was time to open up the honeybee hives, and take a peek. First, we used a little smoke, then carefully checked hive frames.
My beekeeping friend said both Missouri backyard beehives are doing "exceptionally well," with honey cells at the top of each frame and baby bees carefully tended in the center. We even spotted the queen bee in Gertrude hive!
I celebrated tasting my first "burr comb with honey." Interestingly enough, eating honeycomb was the original way honey was consumed. The burr comb was chewy but the honey was truly delicious!