November 20, 2015
Busy Bees at Hopewell
Since April, Hopewell has been busy farming two bee hives. Through the hard work of our residents, volunteers and the bees, of course, we are happy to report that we have harvested honey!
Bees are essential to our ecosystem. They pollinate over 80% of the crops that are grown for people to eat. Bees are fundamental to the survival of fruits, vegetables, some nuts and flowers. Along with their crucial role in growing the foods we eat, bees also help pollinate flowers and nut-yielding plants that are the primary food source for most birds and small mammals. Bees also pollinate cotton plants. So whether you had an apple today, are wearing a t-shirt or you are enjoying something sweet, it was probably thanks to the efforts of hardworking bees.
Raising bees is no small undertaking, so make sure you do extensive research, talk with professionals, and learn everything before you start your own hive. If it is something that interests you, here is how Hopewell went from the idea of a hive to harvesting honey and using it in our diet.
This was not our first attempt at starting an apiary at Hopewell. We learned the importance of not giving up on a goal. So, after two failed attempts, we have a great bee colony that is starting to thrive. We started our successful bee campaign by relocating a new swarm to Hopewell. Both our hives are located in double tubs. We use dividers covered with a mint/honey wax to attract bees and encourage them to build honeycombs. It is important to obtain a hive with a strong queen bee to keep the population growing and producing more honey.
Once the bees fill the honeycombs, it is time to extract the honey. It is important to have a good bee suit to keep your apiarists safe. We start by cutting the caps off the dividers with a heated knife. Then the combs go into the extractor. This will pull the honey out of the combs. There is also a filter that separates the wax from the honey.
The batch of honey we are enjoying currently at Hopewell is clover honey. Next time, we will have golden rod honey. The type of honey depends on the plants the bees are pollinating.
We would like to thank Rick Becker of the Trumbull County Bee Inspector Register for his assistance in getting our dream of a Hopewell bee hive buzzing.Back to Blog