The worker bees have a tiring and dangerous job laboring from sunrise to sunset with a lifespan of about six weeks. Based on their productivity, periodically additional components called ‘supers’ were added to the hives to ensure their high rise had adequate frames for construction of combs and honey yield. Each super holds ten frames where the bees create mass hexagonal prismatic wax cells to store their honey.
Labor Day weekend the beekeeper was as busy as the bees! As the photos indicate, it was time to harvest the excess honey. The process was as follows: first, the frames were removed; followed by scraping the honeycombs; third, the extraction process took place through centrifugal force in a barrel and the finale -the jars were filled with liquid gold!
Since the harvest, the bees have continued to produce more honey, which is their food source, for the winter months ahead. In October, the bees began receiving an additional sugar syrup supplement along with protein patties. Also, with a hard freeze and bitter cold fast approaching, the hives got a very techie “spaceship” look. They have been cloaked in an aluminum flexiwrap -similar to what is used in outer space - that is ¼” thick and has a R-6 value. Also a vapor board has been placed on the top of each hive along with a one inch styrofoam section on the bottom to ward off drafts. Along with all the protective layers, the thousands of bees in each hive must do their part as well. The “heater bees verses the housekeeping bees” maintain the warmth in the hives by shivering or vibrating their flight muscles, raising their body temperature thus elevating the surrounding air by several degrees. Note, it has been a common practice for some apiarists to transport their bees in the hives to warmer climates over winter, to continue pollination of other crops such as the California almond groves.
It is a fact, nature is not an exact science. However, optimism remains for the honeybees who buzzed around the Gardens on Golden Pond to be the official greeters next Spring in search of tulips and daffodils!
For more information, please refer to wihoney.org; abfnet.org (American Bee Federation) and pollinator.org. Also plan a visit to the new Tashjian Bee and Pollinator Discovery Center at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska next year. It is the first building in a planned “farm to table” campus where the buzz is all about the bees!
“The hum of bees is the voice of the garden.”
11/9/2018 09:16:25 am
A very nice write up of the bee keeping operation with detailed pictures. I enjoyed reading it. I have also personally tasted the flavorful honey from "The Gardens on Golden Pond". It had a very unique flowery taste. Wish you best of luck for harvesting more honey next year from "The Gardens on Golden Pond".
11/9/2018 03:37:56 pm
Well Done! What a great write up and a fun adventure you had this summer with the bees.
11/16/2018 09:10:28 am
Enjoyed your story with the bees. Felt like I was experiencing it first hand. Thank you.
11/30/2018 03:52:02 pm
I love this amazing story Katie! So proud to bee the friend of a beekeeper. You are the Queen!
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