What’s the Buzz?

What’s the Buzz?

With just a few weeks to go to the start of CSA pickup, thousands of tiny residents from Blooming Glen Farm have been hard at work. Not your typical Carhartt clad farm workers, these foraging buzzing honeybees are contributing to the effort just the same, helping pollinate the strawberries, vegetable crops and various flowers around the farm.  Justin Seelaus and Lexi Berko, our residential beekeepers, have been frequently checking the newly established and revamped apiary on the property to promote healthy and sustainable growth on the farm.

As the next generation of beekeepers, Justin and Lexi practice Treatment/ Chemical Free Beekeeping, as well as provide our honey bees’ access to flowers, fruits and vegetables grown by organic processes. This in turn results in healthy and hardier bees with chemical free honey. By using Treatment Free Beekeeping, our beekeepers encourage our bees to use their natural bee biology, promoting natural habits and responses to typical environmental stresses.  In addition, we have introduced diverse genetics from New World Carniolan Honeybees, Apis mellifera carnica, which provide the gentleness and honey production of a typical Italian Honey bee, with disease resistance and hygienic behaviors favored in Treatment Free Beekeeping.

More traditional beehives to the left and center; yellow top bar hive to the right.

Finally, the latest addition to our apiary is our very first Top Bar Beehive.  This new style of beehive is gaining in popularity by allowing beekeepers to inspect their hives with minimal invasiveness to the colony. And just as important, the design is also easier on the beekeeper, as it eliminates the need to lift extemely heavy honey-filled boxes. The design follows that of a typical trough with a series of bars placed over the top, spaced evenly to account for bee space and inspected weekly to ensure proper comb construction. In the Top Bar Beehive, the bees are not provided with foundation (a wax guide to build comb), so they must build it from scratch, allowing a more hygienic system of beekeeping.

A frame from the Top Bar Beehive, with comb built entirely by the bees.

With all these recent additions to the apiary and new practices in beekeeping, thousands of bees on the property have been busy collecting the first spring nectar and pollen flow this year has to offer.  As you walk around the farm in the upcoming months, gathering flowers or eating strawberries, please take the time to thank the honeybees for helping us with even the smallest of tasks.

We will continue to provide you updates as our apiary grows and expands in the upcoming months! If you have any questions about the bees on the farm, or have questions about beekeeping in general, feel free to contact our beekeepers Justin Seelaus or Lexi Berko. Justin Seelaus:  jcseelaus@gmail.com and Lexi Berko berko.alexa@gmail.com.

Post written by Blooming Glen Farm crew members and amateur beekeepers, Justin Seelaus and Lexi Berko, both recent graduates of Delaware Valley College. Beekeeping photos provided by Justin Seelaus; flower photos by Tricia Borneman.

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