Bees and Apiculture at MHS end of Term 2 2022.
Today we were lucky enough to get an insight and check up on our two beehives by Oliver at Beezthingz, an organisation who support beekeeping at schools and other places. Our beekeeping also involves six of our Yr 12 Hospitality students, who are doing some extra papers and credits on apiculture, beekeeping, through SIT, Southern Institute of Technology.
Our hives have suffered some wasp predation but fortunately as the colder weather comes it kills off the wasp population, though not completely. One of the hives had also lost its queen, probably due to reaching the end of her natural life, so another hive was added on top with an existing queen, which would then absorb the bees from the original hive as well. Though the two hives are next to each other, the bees know which hive to enter by the smell emitted. Guard bees at the entrance will also defend the hive entrance and attempt to ward off wasp entry.
Both hives will respond well to the arrival of spring, when days get longer and warmer, the queen will lay more eggs and numbers will increase rapidly. Over winter there is less food around from plants but at this time of year the much-aligned gorse bush is in flower and providing a rich source of pollen and nectar for the existing bees.
We are looking forward to the expansion of our bee numbers in spring when the bee numbers will grow rapidly. However, we will need to keep an eye on overcrowding, as that can lead to swarming as the bees go in search of more space. At that point the queen bee and bees will leave the hive and look for another place to make a base. That’s when we will rely on Oliver to guide us in our management of the hives.
Our students who are involved in the beekeeping course are:
Logan Pates 12TFR
Nikita Kaiki 12HGF
Keegan Low 12MSD
Alice Steer 12MSD
Jack Murray 12TFR
Jessey O'Neill 12TWN