cool and interesting

Observation Hive Inspires Students

Beekeeper Sharon has submitted the following article;

Sharon Myers and Keith Stetsko of the West Kootenay Branch of the BC Honey Producers Association introduced this observation hive to the W.E. Grahame School in Slocan City for two months this spring to bring “bee awareness” to the students in the area. The hive is a 2 frame unit with glass sides and a running glass entrance.

Overall approximately 160 students ranging from Kindergarten to High school age, as well as adult groups from various communities observed the display and set in motion art projects and stories, as well as planning some great projects to be taken on in the future.
The hive allows for the daily observation of different stages of the bees’ lives from the laying of eggs by the queen, to the care of those eggs by the workers, to seeing the baby bees emerging from the capped cells.  The bees can also be observed gathering and storing nectar and pollen, cleaning of the hive, and building new honeycomb.  One of the most interesting activities was to see the bees doing their directional dances for location of food sources.
A brief assembly was held on the first day during which the students learned the anatomy of a bee, their life cycles, and their culture.  An amazing discussion developed around how the students can assist in creating a healthy environment for the bees in their own community and their home gardens.  Everything from planting bee friendly plants to keeping their home living space toxin free from hair shampoos and cleaning products to spraying pesticides on their home trees and gardens.
The program was so successful that four additional schools in the Kootenays will participate in a similar program with the observation hive in the spring of 2016.  As well one of the communities will participate in a community “art project” involving the observation hive.
The observation hive has currently moved to The Four Nations Coalition of Indigenous Medicines in the West Kootenays where it will participate in The Indigenous Earth Studies for Kids program which runs for the summer months.
Further information about this project can be accessed at:

1 thought on “Observation Hive Inspires Students”

  1. Axel Sorry if this is not the best email address for you. I’ve also cc’d this email to a couple of natural beekeeper friends in Vancouver and Nova Scotia, to keep them posted on the fun. I’ve been thinking hard about my longterm plan since our last conversation. 18 hives from 3 in two months is not taking me in a sustainable direction for next spring, and I need a new plan. Like you, I’m mostly interested in playing with bees, and strengthening the bees to deal with Varroa and other diseases without chemical inputs. The honey is nice, but I’ll have too much soon, and I’m not interested in selling it, competing with other beekeepers. The pay per hour is just too much hard work! The best way to make the bees healthier seems to be to let them reproduce naturally by swarming, giving both hive and swarm a crucial brood break, and allowing the swarm to start with entirely new comb, leaving the old hive pathogens behind. This means healthy hives swarming, and me catching them up the tree if they’re at home, or in bait hives if they’re away. Swarms will come in May, with casts as late as end of June into July. Selling small swarms so late will be an uncertain business, and I think it would be fairer to buyers for me to let them get established over the summer. Any hives that survive to the following spring would be available for sale in early May like other nucs, but with their own proven queen on their own brood and comb. A four frame nuc is $160. An eight frame (or more) hive of healthy treatment-free bees in full expansion mode in early May should be worth something more, and I’m interested in your input on price. I assume you would want to inspect them in spring (late April?) prior to sale, once it’s warm enough to open the brood nest. I’m overwintering the casts in 2X10 Warre boxes, so the thicker walls can help the small nucs through the winter cold. The Warre boxes form any condensation on the sloped bottom board at the entrance, and seem to keep the bees dry and warm. I understand your reticence about inspecting Warre’s. I can free the comb from any attachments to the side walls, so we’ll be able to remove all frames for a good inspection. I’m hopeful we can figure out a good technique that lets you be confident you can assure the health of the hive, while not chilling the bees overmuch in late April or early May. I think I would like to run 8-12 strong hives every spring, selling off all the small overwintered swarms. I absolutely agree that I need an out apiary outside the city limits, as you suggested. I’m cruising for someplace on Granite Road or in Beasley. Do you think this model might work? Should I be advertising this fall, to let beekeepers know there will be treatment-free top bar bees available in the spring? Would there be a market for 10-15 hives a year locally? I think the shorter 13″ Warre bars could be screwed under any length of longer top bar to fit in HTB hives, with trimming of the bottom corners as needed, or even into Langs. Please give me a call, and let me know anytime you’re in Nelson, to drop by for a look at my happy younguns. I’ve got three and four small swarms at two different rooftop locations here in town as well. Trevor Janz 250 352-1208 Date: Mon, 13 Jul 2015 14:53:47 +0000 To:

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