Flashback Friday: Visiting the Observation Hive!

During this year’s summer solstice, Sunday, June 21st, the GW Apiary endeavored to aid Professor Doebel’s classroom observation hive, which featured honey-filled frames and thousands of bees.

Just a few weeks prior, students would stare in awe at the flourishing hive, watching the waggling bees and trying to locate the queen. The bees were relatively shy of the frames at the top of the hive, but as the weeks passed, honeycomb was soon observed covering the frame template.

Our beekeepers, though fearless, were a bit daunted with the task of replacing the filled frames, for it was feared that many bees would be lost, either captured by Death itself or flying or crawling around the classroom, in the attempt. Nevertheless, we had to persevere!

Beekeepers Mehreen and Liam worked with Michael to remove the transparent cover from the hive.

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Some bees were excited to see an opportunity to escape from the heat of the crowded hive.

The bees created a cylindrical honey comb above the topmost frame, and surrounded it, causing us apprehension to remove the cover.
DSC_0097 After some careful, selective drilling…DSC_0099 and some sugar water spritzing to calm the bees inside the hive…DSC_0101…we were able to successfully remove the frame!
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We were stung a few times trying to remove the precious honeycomb.

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We believe that the bees were happy to have more room, keep their brood frames, and begin to store honey anew.DSC_0120

Many of the live bees that had escaped from the observation hive were released back outside, to return to the hive independently.DSC_0127However, the work did not stop there; next we went to the roof to check on several hives!

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Beekeepers Liam and Mehreen pose for a quick snapshot.

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The bees seemed to enjoy the late-afternoon light.DSC_0146 DSC_0147

We were visited by a couple wasps, one of which attempted to enter a super carrying all new, empty frames.DSC_0149

Although maintaining the observation hive proved to require a bit of work (and a couple of casualties (stings)), it was a new, valuable experience for the current team of beekeepers.

Stay tuned for more adventures!

-Gabrielle

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