Thursday, August 27, 2009

EYA Beekeeping Interns

A syrphid fly sips at a wabi sabi sunflower.

This year the Environmental Youth Alliance is hosting a program at the MOP community bee hive that teaches youth how to be urban beekeepers. The instructor is Brian Campbell, who is currently available to answer your beekeeping or general bee-related questions care of West Coast Seeds: info(at)

The interns taught us how to do the waggle dance and sent out foraging bees to find honey sticks and then tell us where they were by dancing. Then we were given a talk about the beekeeper's year, and some reasons why you might want a hive or two in your backyard.

Given that we've had such hot, sunny weather, I'm sure the bees appreciate this custom-made bee bath. (I guess technically, it's more a communal drinking cup.)

Each intern lead an activity or gave a presentation and they even put a frame into the visible hive. The colony had recently lost their queen, but re-queened themselves, so hopefully they will be strong enough to survive the winter. Now is the time of the year to treat bees for mites and do a thorough hive check to see if the bees have enough honey and pollen to survive the winter. By mid-October the weather will be cool enough that the beekeeper won't want the risk of opening the hive and chilling the bees. One thing I learned that is the beekeepers must tip up the back of the hive in the winter so that all the condensation in the hive will flow out the front and prevent mildew from forming.

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