Posted by: Rebecca Rand | October 31, 2013

The Art of Beekeeping

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Last week Conserve School student beekeepers enjoyed the sticky experience of harvesting honey, an event they had been awaiting excitedly. Throughout the semester, a small group of students have practiced the art of beekeeping. They learned about the incredibly complex social system within a honey bee colony, the role of the queen bee, the proper way to open a hive, and bee-keeping etiquette. The beekeepers have also gained insight on important issues such as Colony Collapse Disorder, a term used to describe the dramatic decline in honey bee colonies in the United States.  The students have gained an appreciation for the important role honey bees play in pollinating our crops and flowers.

That being said, the beekeepers deserved a taste of the bee’s liquid gold! The honey was brought to the kitchen where the students uncapped it and had a taste of the delicious treat. Many students described it has having a “minty” taste, possibly due to the wild mint growing in and around our school garden, home of the apiary. They were enthusiastic and proud of their hard work!

Beekeeping does not stop with the snow, so even though winter weather has arrived in the Northwoods, students will continue to watch over and care for the apiary. This year the beekeepers will attempt to winterize a hive. This task is not easy during the cold winters of the Northwoods, so the students are taking every step necessary to ensure success! So far, the bees have received two gallons of medicated sugar syrup to minimize the chance that they contract a nasty bee virus called Nosema. We have sealed up the hive and transplanted it into the shed to protect the bees from harsh winds and cold. Hopefully we will see our bees in the spring!

Rebecca Rand, Graduate Fellow

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