Posted by: evesmallwood | April 25, 2013

Buzzing About Bees

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Although there is still snow on the ground, spring is just around the corner at Conserve School! A special part of the spring season is the arrival of our new bee hives. While our apiary (the area where our honey bee hives are kept) is next to the garden, we have one observation hive set up in the entry way of the Lowenstine Academic Building. Glass windows encase the hive frames, giving us a look at what goes on inside a honey bee hive. A tube allows the bees to fly outside and back in as they please.

The beekeeping Stewardship in Action group suited up to assist in putting a new group of bees into the observation hive. The students had previously researched different types of bees and recommended this type, Carnolians, for Conserve School. Assisted by graduate fellow Eve Smallwood and Conserve staff members (and resident beekeeping experts) Jean Haack and Cathy Palmer, the students prepared the bees by spraying them gently with sugar water. This encourages the bees to eat and also makes it slightly harder for them to fly away and escape. Then, we removed the top of the box and removed the queen bee, located in her own tiny box.

Since this is an observation hive, we painted a tiny red dot on the queen’s back so she will be easier to see. Then she was placed back in her little box. The cork in her box was replaced with a mini marshmallow so the worker bees will be able to chew through and get her out once they are all in the hive. We placed the queen inside the hive, and then it was time to introduce the worker bees to their new home.

After one more sugar water spritz, students gently turned the new box of bees over on top of the opening to the observation hive, and removed the barrier between the two. Slowly but surely, the worker bees started to make their way into their new hive and to their queen.

Welcome home, bees! We look forward to watching what you do in the coming months!

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