Bee timelapse

bee in brood cell

When photographer Anand Varma was given an assignment on bees for National Geographic, he decided to work with a local beekeeper and keep a hive in his backyard. Familiarity bred fascination, and Varma fell in love with the intricate lives of bees. He photographed them from all angles and in all life stages, but…

…even with this intimate perspective, Varma realized that there was something he still couldn’t see—the full development of an egg into an adult worker bee. After the queen bee lays a single egg in a cell of the comb, the worker bees feed the egg for a few days until it hatches into a larva. The larva continues to eat and grow until Day 10. Then, the worker bees cap the cell, and 11 days later an adult honeybee emerges. Varma was captivated by “this crazy transformation, from one nasty-looking grub thing into this crazy-looking insect.”

So he spent six months working on a way to film that transformation. In the end, he had enough photographs for a one-minute timelapse. It is amazing. Just watching the internal structures of the head coalesce…holy new bees, Batman!

I can’t embed it here, but for the timelapse, many more great photos, and the full explanation of how Varma managed it, check out National Geographic’s story.


About Fletcher DeLancey

Socialist heathen and Mac-using author of the Chronicles of Alsea, who enjoys pondering science, politics, well-honed satire (though sarcastic humor can work, too) and all things geeky.
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