Although bee season won’t really start until April, it’s never too early to get amped up about some of the coolest little critters on the planet! I’m talking, of course, about beeeeeeees. Though the hives in our apiary may seem deathly quiet, the bees in each colony are, as we speak, clustered in massive, living “balls” and living off their honey stores, vibrating their bodies to keep themselves warm. Since it’s been bitterly cold recently, we plan on taking a stethoscope down to the hives sometime soon to check up on our brave little patients–opening the hives during winter is a no-no, because the colony will lose the heat they’ve worked so hard to generate, but rumor is you can hear the vibrations of the mass of bees through the sides of the hives. Check back soon for an update on what we hear!
If you’re a fellow bee enthusiast, read on for a bee candy recipe you can experiment with while you wait for the snow to melt…
Bee Keeping Tips/Techniques
Last winter was abnormally warm, and our bees started to become active and buzz around too early. This worried us because they wouldn’t have enough food (since the flowers did not bloom yet). Although bees save honey in their honey stores, we wanted to make sure that they had enough food so members of our class made 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.