Let’s see what the Zoology Foundation has to say!
Last spring, Zoology Foundation added three beehives to our clan. It has been a very rewarding and educational experience for those of us that work here, as we are fascinated by this highly organized world living deep within the hive body. We would love to have you join us in our world of bees journey!
Did you ever wonder why bees make honey? The simple answer is that they need the honey as a food source to survive the winter. Humans are just lucky enough to reap the rewards of the extra honey that is produced.
In order to survive our Colorado winters, the honey bees form a cluster with their heads facing inward with the queen and brood in the center, and they shiver to raise the temperature in the hive to about 93°. If it gets too warm, they separate a little to allow for more airflow, and if it cools down again, they tighten up and continue to shiver to create the required heat for the survival of the colony. The bees rotate in and out of this cluster so that they all get to eat.
A healthy colony can create a varying amount of honey, ranging from 60 to 80 pounds of honey per year. You have to be careful how much you take, as this is the food source for the bees to survive the winter. Don’t worry, though — there is plenty to go around.
Yet, it should be noted that it takes two full years of beekeeping to even think about harvesting the honey as they are starting from scratch when the hive is first assembled. By the second year, if the colony is healthy, the beekeeper can collect some of the honey.
As a new beekeeper, I have made my mistakes, and I’ve found it invaluable to be introduced to Don Hall from Burley Bees. Had I met Don earlier, I probably would not have gotten more than 20 bee stings when setting up our hives. However, from that day forward, I have not gotten a single sting. I do highly recommend a full suit for new beekeepers, no matter what anyone tells you. Trust me — it’s worth the investment to not have sleepless nights scratching your unprotected legs.
Zoology Foundation is very excited to introduce our first Beekeeping 101 classes with the very informative and passionate beekeeper Don Hall from Burley Bees. His passion for bees is infectious, and you will leave wanting more.
Why start learning about bees in January? Well, first of all, it takes a little time to make sure you want to commit to the hobby. Second, you must order your bees early or you won’t get any. The nucleus colony (better known as nuc) that is necessary to start the hive is usually delivered on a specific day in the spring, and you have to be ready to receive them. We received ours in early April 2017. Once you have the bees, you must be ready to rehome them to their new hive right away.
Still buzzing? Join us on January 27 or February 3, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for Beekeeping 101, and get your beekeeping groove on! Class size is limited to 16 for maximum learning potential. This class is intended for adults and mature teens 14 or older.
–Avie Rosacci, Zoology Foundation Executive Director
Zoology Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)3 animal sanctuary that focuses on humane education and animal rescue, located in Larkspur, Colorado.