Right from the start we made sure these were not "killer" or Africanized bees. We can stand within a foot or two of the hive - really. The bees just go on doing bee things - very busy bee things. My husband has all he can do not to reach out quickly and grab some honeycomb - which would be dumb for a whole gamut of reasons. Of course, the bees would get angry and would attack, but he might grab a part of the comb (still covered with many bees - ouch) that has babies in it. This is not tasty - you want the part of the comb that has honey in it.
So he will not be giving into that urge to grab - I think he has enough survival instinct to protect him in this case.
So without further ado - here are the bees:
This is a shot where I attempt to show the whole hive, except the bottom is missing - so the next shot will show the bottom where all the bees "hang" out....literally.
Here is the bottom of the hive - literally covered with bees.
In the picture above, you can see the last of the gourd sticking out - and covered with bees. This entire hive is built around and hanging from a North Carolina gourd. We bought the gourd to house birds - but only bees have come twice now. This time the bees are covering the outside of the gourd with row upon row of honeycomb - the gourd is just the base. I have no idea if there are bees inside as well, since the opening is toward the back and I'm not going to squeeze myself back there - I am not THAT curious.
Last - above is a closer up (yes, I meant to say "closer up") of the honeycomb. Maybe it's honey? Maybe it's capsules getting ready for babies. Who knows. I just feel honored that they live in my yard.
Oh - and guess who hangs out UNDER the nest to eat any dead bees that fall. Mr. Cane Toad, a.k.a. Bufo toad.