We have a strong group of boys going into the 2016 season. Each brings there own talents and interests. Our firs hive inspection some jumped right in and others hung back. They all are getting more comfortable with the bees. I struggle to find the time to teach them what they need to know and keep on top of my lessons and beekeeping responsibilities but the rewards are great.
There are some new faces in B’ville. The budding beekeepers are eager to go the hive and watch the bees growth each week. We installed the nucs three weeks ago. They are already filling their third box. We stopped feeding about a week ago, now that it’s warm and the dandelions are blooming they probably would not take syrup any way. I have to say I will over winter nucs every year I am able. They are the best insurance. When everyone is scrabbling to replace losses the nucs are peace of mind.
The boys all approach the bees differently. Some stand back, while others want to handle frames the first day. They have all been great with the bees. They are incredibly focused when they have a frame of bees in their hands. I have kept inspections short for my own peace of mind. It’s a big responsibility to have the bees by the kids. When we arrive around 3:00pm the bees are often orienting and very active. My the time we leave they are calm.
This is the brood pattern from the over wintered queens, not too shabby considering they had a bit of European Foul Brood in the fall. I didn’t treat, feeding syrup cleared it up and I have not seen any signs of it yet this spring.
B’ville is an internship that I am starting with my students at Mott Hall Bridges Academy in Brownsville Brooklyn. This spring we were the recipient of a Citizen’s Committee Grant. This grant allowed me to place a hive at Tranquility Farm, and to begin to mentor gardeners there. We were also able to buy beekeeping suits and tools for my students.
When I was the age of my students I rode horses in 4-H. My summer was consumed with riding and taking care of my horse. Every summer I showed at the local fair. Being responsible for the life of an animal was formative and profound for me. My students don’t have opportunities like this.
I started two nucs at our new school garden, The Living Laboratory, in August 2014. These nucs will over winter on top of another hive and, with luck, they will return to the garden in the spring of 2015 and grow to become full sized hives.
My students will be developing their own company and selling the products of their hive. They will make their own labels, do their own marketing, and earn real money from the sales of their products.
This fall we well begin learning about bees and inspecting the nucs. Please return to this page to read my student’s writing about their experiences.