Farm Photo Friday: May 2, 2014


Every Friday we share some snaps from our 333-acres in Kutztown, PA. Our photographers? The staff members who keep this farm chugging along. Enjoy a sneak peek at what’s going on here at Rodale Institute!

It’s spring time and we are buzzing at the farm!  After our monthly all-staff meeting and potluck lunch, Coach Mark Smallwood invited the team to watch as he started a new beehive just across from our main house on the farm…

This photo is a bit washed out, but we loved the way the comb glows with the magic of the honeybees.

This top bar has some especially healthy comb and bee population.  Sweet!
Molly looks a little nervous.  Nothing to bee afraid of!

Starting a new hive is very precise work.  Coach shows a steady hand while staff grab the photo opportunity!

The whole team gets a first peek into the hive.  The sound is amazing.  The honeybee’s
wings make about 200 beats per second, creating their infamous buzzing.

Now that most of the top bars are in, it’s time to coax the rest of the bees into their new digs.  It seems that they’re just as interested in hanging outside as we are!

It’s tricky, to say the least, to get the hive assembled without harming any bees.
You not only have to be precise, but you need to have gentle compassion.

Some bars are stuck together with beeswax and need to be carefully separated.

Now Coach is coaxing more bees into the main area of the hive.  It’s slow going, so it also requires patience.  It is certainly worth the wait and effort; more than 70 of the 100 crops that provide 90% of the world’s food are pollinated by bees.

Some of our best friends are pollinators. Can you see all that pollen?! To make one
pound of honey, worker bees have to fly 55,000 miles and tap two million flowers.

Even though they are interested in the activity, they are quite cooperative overall.

Commercially bred bees are usually all identical – our bees are richly varied in
appearance, some dark, some light.  Keep your eye out for some unique bees!

Coach slides this group away from the gap between the bars because he is going
to close that gap next. The bees move to the right and down into the hive.

And there they go! It’s bustling in that beehive!

As you can see, most of the bees are now comfortably at home
down in the hive, except for just a few of the most adventurous.

‘Honey, I’m home!’ U.S. honeybees’ economic contribution is valued
at nearly $15 billion. Talk about bringing home the bacon!

In goes the last top bar.

Here is one of the stages where bees are more likely to get squished,
but Coach moves slow and steady. No bees were harmed!

Coach keeps cool and focused for the entire process, this helps to
keep the bees very mellow. No humans were stung either, by the way!

One of the final steps is almost complete, and soon the bees of this new hive will all be living together under one roof.  Does your family love honey? The average American eats about one pound of honey a year.

Coach takes a few minutes to talk with us about bees.  Did you know that bees are the only insects that produce food eaten by humans?  Honey is the only food that includes all the substances necessary to sustain life, including enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and water.

Everything is now in place! Thanks for joining us in this week’s installment of Farm Photo Friday. We believe that the backyard beekeeper has a huge role to play in saving the honeybee. Please consider joining our Honeybee Conservancy!

Don’t forget… Show your organic love!

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