mckendree key


home| projects 2001-2011 | resume | statement | contact

*Bees-spring 2007


This is Kirk Webster's house, in Bridport Vermont. He is a beekeeper who keeps over 300 hives. From him we bought one hive of Russian Bees.

We picked them up when it was getting dark because the bees are calmer then. Kirk has bred this strain of Russian bees to be more resistant to mites and other pests. He does not medicate his bees.

The Russians are bred from queen bees that were brought over by the USDA in 2001. To get them to the US, the USDA officials took them in small cages inside thier pockets on the plane.

In this hive there are between 10,000-20,000 bees.

The next day I picked up an order of Italian bees from Georgia. They are shipped by the US postal service in this cage with a can of sugar syrup to sustain them while they are in the mail.

They have been in transit for 5 days to get from Georgia to Vermont. A few hundred have died and their moral is a little low and so we want to get them into thier hive asap.

Inside the cage is a smaller cage that houses the queen. There are a few worker bees in there with her to take care of her. She is very important to the hive- without her they will not be a colony, make honey or stay in the hive. She is slightly longer and more elegant than the workers.

Following the instructions we had read, we dumped the bees into the hive. The cage with the queen in it is hung from between the frames in the hive. Her cage is plugged up with sugar, and over the next 3 days the workers will eat away the sugar to release her slowly. This way she will be accepted and cared for by the hive.

The next day we checked on the Italians. The entire hive had clustered around the queens' cage to get her out. Once they release her, she will begin laying eggs and the hive will grow quickly (if all goes well). The workers will collect pollen from the apple trees nearby and begin stocking the hive with honey.

To sustain them until they get going, we gave them a gallon of sugar water.

The Russians, already an established hive, had begun to make thier first foraging flights. They create a mental map of about a one mile radius of thier hive. During their foraging flights they will be looking for the dandelions that are out right now and the apple blossoms that will be out in a few days.

Hopefully, the Italians and the Russians will live side by side in peace. With a little luck, they will make enough honey to survive over the winter plus enough for us to harvest in September.



Next Page>>>


©copyright 2011
home| projects 2001-2011 | resume | statement | contact