Good afternoon everyone,
Today, we have installed six new hives, with the help of a gentleman named Kevin. He drove the bees to our apiary and stayed for an extra hour to ensure that the bees got settled into their new homes. We hope he had fun and acquired a priceless, memorable beekeeping experience!
Gabrielle will be continuing her time at the apiary for her second year as the Senior Beekeeper, while Kayla, a researcher who was at the lab last summer, will rise up to take over the role of Junior Beekeeper.
As always, we’d like to thank Founding Farmers for partnering with us. We would not be nearly as successful without your endless excitement, your consciousness of sustainable farming and of bees’ importance to ecosystems both local and worldwide, or your generous funding for our cause.
As for our old hives, over this past autumn and winter season, seven of our ten hives survived the winter. Two of these have lasted since early 2015! Those seem to be our only two hives infested with Varroa mites, despite our sugar and MiteAway treatments. Luckily, though, none of our other 2016 hives seemed to have much, if any, Varroa, based on corrugated and Vaseline-slathered mite board inspections.
In late autumn 2016, we discovered one hive that had succumbed to Colony Collapse Disorder, as all of the bees disappeared over the course of four weeks. There were no dead worker or drone bees were left by undertakers on the tarp in front of the hive, although we saw the marked queen resting in front. Evidently, she was left alone, could not groom, feed, or generally fend for herself, had flown just outside of the hive and died there.
We lost one hive to unidentified causes, as many bees died suddenly inside and just outside of the hive. The USDA was unable to confirm any particular cause of death based on the sample we provided. If you have a hunch as to what happened, please let us know in the comments section below!
Lastly, a weak single-super hive perished in the winter, frozen in place because of the mildly chilly air.
Otherwise, we are starting off the season with thirteen hives! We purchased six bee packages since we were under the impression that the winter would as severe as last year. We were delightfully proven wrong when we opened up hives filled with bees!
So far, though, our two old hives and new research hives have thrived, and our new honeybees seem to be happy. With luck and good weather, this year may bode well for our bees and for honey production!
Stay tuned for more news and exciting discoveries at the GW Buzz apiary and research lab this coming summer; it’s sure to be a good year!