By Ian Northrop, Arcadia Bee Keeper and Volunteer
Edited by Marsha Johnston, Arcadia Farm Education Volunteer
I have been fascinated with bees for as long as I can remember. Early this spring, I finally purchased hives for my family. We placed them in my parents’ backyard, as their yard is larger than ours and thus less likely to cause neighbors to stress about having bees move in!
My wife Kara volunteers at Arcadia as a farm educator, so when I discovered that Arcadia needed someone to maintain their hives, I volunteered immediately.
In late April, my 4-year-old son Evan and I began a cleanup of the Arcadia apiary, which is located just behind the gazebo. Several hives had not made it through the long winter. We cleaned the bee-less hives, including one that was now host to a family of mice (the mouse stuck his head out for a photo). It’s often difficult to tell what killed honeybees that don’t make it to the spring, so to be sure no viruses or mites are lurking about, we discard most of the items in the hive and even the hive itself if it looks infested.
Before throwing the unusable parts away, Evan diligently cut out all the beeswax that was salvageable. We collected several bucket loads of beeswax that he is excited to experiment with, turning them into beeswax products like candles and soap.