Spring has sprung at the GW Apiary! Our bees love this season as the increasing temperatures prompts their reemergence after a long, cold winter. Unsurprisingly, spring is an especially busy time for our beekeepers! Here is a glimpse at what our beekeepers are up to in preparation for the honeybees’ arrival and foraging season.
- Preparing the hives for installation: Every April, the GW Apiary receives a shipment of bees from Georgia to install in our rooftop colonies. Preparing our apiary for installation involves constructing 10 hives that each include a hive stand, a solid bottom board, a super filled with 5 new frames and 5 drawn-out frames, a solid inner cover, and a top.
- Installing the hives: As our previous posts have described, our annual Installation Day is always excitingly chaotic! The honeybees, which arrive at the GW Apiary in packages we teasingly refer to as “bee boxes,” are first sprayed with sugar water in order to calm them and allow our beekeepers to more easily maneuver them. Then, we carefully shake the bees into the hives and allow them to do the rest!
- Preparing the Observation Hive: Located in Bell 205, the “Obs Hive” is used for introductory biology lab students to observe the honeybee queen and her dutiful workers in action. If they are lucky, students also witness the forager bees performing their signature waggle dance to communicate the location of a food source to the other worker bees! A PVC pipe connects the base of the Obs Hive to the outside world through a window, thereby allowing the bees to fly outside and return to the colony freely. When the honeybees are not being observed, the glass of the Obs Hive is covered with poster board panels in order to simulate an enclosed hive and to prevent the bees from becoming agitated by the artificial light of the classroom.