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Beekeeping – Through the Eyes of an Intern

Hello all! This summer we have an intern from Dordt College, named Cheyanne. She will be learning the basics of beekeeping. Throughout the summer, she will participate in all the hive checks and treatments of the bees, and write short snippets about what she has observed and learned. Here is her first post:


May 25, 2016

Today was my second day working with the bees. We checked one hive and found evidence of a queen—eggs and brood. Yet, we could not find a queen. We can tell the hive is healthy from all the nectar, pollen, eggs and brood— capped and uncapped— located on the frames. On most of the frames I could see the laying pattern of the queen. The cells towards the outside would be filled with eggs, white little white dots, while the cells toward the inside would be filled with larva. I could see the different sizes of the larva and eventually the dead center was capped brood. It’s really interesting to see how organized and systematic the bees are, not only in how the queen lays eggs, but also how the bees have specific tasks based on how old they are. Younger worker bees (1-2 days old) will start out simply cleaning cells and keeping the brood warm. From days 3-11 the bees begin to feed the larva, and eventually at 22 days old they graduate to leaving the hive, pollinating plants, and collect pollen, nectar and water.

We also played with the fogger, a tool that uses propane and mineral oil to coat the bees protecting the bees from mites. The fog that is released coats the bees and the mites, suffocating the mites, yet making the bees docile. It also makes the bees want to clean themselves and others, knocking off the mites that could possibly be on them.  This tool seems to be very beneficial if used correctly. Overall, this hive looks like it is on the right track to being a healthy highly producing hive.


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