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The Bees are Happy Despite a Late Start to the Season

Wednesday, June 27, 2018
by Will Olson | Horticulture Student Director

With the strange Spring weather, most beekeepers got a late start to installing their new hives. Here at Allen Centennial Garden, we installed our hives on the first of May, which is four weeks later than last year. Unfortunately, we lost both of our hives during last winter’s fluctuating climate and we had to install two new hives for this year.

As most do to a new hive, we fed our bees both pollen patties and honey frames from previous years to help kick start the hives. Quickly feeding on this, the bees rapidly built so the queens could lay their first larvae. This year, we have one Italian queen and one Canadian queen. We have not noticed much of a difference thus far but fellow beekeepers have informed me that their Canadian queen hives have been easier to work with in the past.

Now almost two months into the season, we have one super, which is  a box within the hive that collects the honey, on each hive and we are watching as they build and collect rapidly. We have two styles of hives at the garden, one Langstroth Hive and one Flow Hive. Last year the Langstroth produced an average amount of honey whereas the Flow, that is designed to make it easier to collect honey without disturbing the bees, seemed to struggle and did not take to the Flow frames. The frames were glued together and ready for honey to be deposited little honey was collected throughout the season and we were not able to harvest.

The bees are currently looking healthy and we are excited to see what is to come for the rest of the season. Held last month, we had a successful introduction to beekeeping class at the Garden. If you’ve never viewed our hives at the Garden, you are welcome to do so! As you enter the Woodland Garden from the west side of the house, take a left and go to the end of the path to where you will find the hives behind the fence. Also, keep a lookout for more events involving the bees and the harvest in the fall!

Tags: Green Initiatives

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Allen Centennial Garden
620 Babcock Drive
Madison WI 53706
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