Beekeeping & Honey Harvesting
Due to this abnormally warm winter, there have been days where the bees have already started buzzing around. Because of this, we are worried that they won't have enough food (since the flowers have not bloomed yet). Bees save honey in their honey stores, but in order to sustain them (if it remains warm most days) members of our class have started making bee candy. For more information on bee candy, look at the recipe below (made by our very own, Hannah Whitehead):
Stovetop Candy Recipe
1. Heat one pint (1/2 liter) of water to boiling in a large pot on stove.
2. Stir in as much sugar as can be dissolved. This will be about 5 pounds (2 Kg). More sugar is better.
3. Boil without a cover, stirring it near continuous until the mixture reaches 234 degrees F. It takes a while.
4. Pour into a mold made of cardboard or a container lined with waxed paper or butcher’s paper. The candy will harden as it cools. The candy will become brittle, and can be slipped on top of frames where the bees will consume it. Or pour it into an inner cover without the vent hole (use duct tape to cover the hole). Use the inner cover upside down with the candy in the brood chamber.
Others in the class are researching other products we can make from the bees (such as wax, royal jelly, bee propolis, and others)!
Beeginning (Bee Beginning)
Last year South Hill Forest Products started up a Beekeeping project on the Ithaca College campus. Our project included two different styles of hives: Langstroth Hives, presently used by most commercial and hobbyist beekeepers, and Top Bar Hives, an old method of beekeeping which has recently made a comeback due to speculation regarding increased bee health and vitality. While we do hope to enjoy the sweet benefits of honey and other hive products, establishing healthy colonies is the main goal, especially during our first year. We purchased our start up nuclei colonies from a local beekeeper in Stanley, New York, who does not use medications or supplements for her bee colonies. The bees we have are Carniolan bees (Apis mellifera carnica) mixed with native species, well known for cold-weather resistance--a good thing in the harsh Ithaca winters!