radicle beets

All hail the queen! by radiclebeets
May 27, 2012, 4:25 pm
Filed under: Beekeeping | Tags: , ,

When looking into a beehive and seeing the important work being done–gathering and preparing food, raising young, teaching about the wide, 2-mile-radius world outside, and of course dancing!–it feels like this is a monarchy that could work… or is it a monarchy?  Anarchism?  Pheromone-communicated after-the-fact decision-making based on a collective view of what is really important?  Hmmm…. it’s a bit hard to translate what goes on in there to our society, but there’s definitely something compelling about it.

Most people we talk to about beekeeping (whether on the bus, at a family dinner, or even while balancing precariously on the Thistle table, taking down our hive equipment and proudly offering some of the bees’ own hard-earned honey) have a story to tell, or some fascination about bees that just needs an outlet!  And hopefully that outlet is provided in the Thistle beekeeping group, with weekly opportunities to geek out on bee knowledge, expand our own experience and teach others.  The reward of learning something in theory (such as how to catch a swarm, or the controversy-laden issue of how to move a hive between 2 metres and 2 miles, and off a roof!), and to immediately be able to put that into practice, is a deeply satisfying one.

So, what is up with the Thistle honeybees now?  This past week we welcomed in (with an appropriate buzzing flurry) the last of this season’s bees, and the hard-working ladies are all settled in at our new food forest site.  Last Sunday, we moved the last remaining hive from the roof of the Mergatroid building, and on Wednesday we picked up a nuc (short for nucleus, a condensed hive of bees that quickly expands, if all goes well!) and installed it at the food forest site.  The beekeeping group (all of us!) is learning a lot during our weekly hive inspections, and more are taking the EYA apprenticeship this season!  As well as weekly inspections, we are hoping to run a few more workshops this season, to talk about important beekeeping topics such as the routine hive inspection, beekeeping year (what to be on the lookout for throughout the year), disease and pests, honey harvesting, and overwintering.  We’re also going to be planning out what we’d like for our bees in their new site—wind shelter, a nice flowering barrier from people walking through the site, a platform for the hive boxes, a shed to store equipment out there, and… what else?

Okay, off to walk (or fly?) the talk… hive inspections today!  Let’s hope the weather holds up!


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