Dahlem’s Apiary is in Full Swing

In case you hadn’t heard, Dahlem’s Public Apiary has finally taken off, with many thanks to our volunteer bee keeper Ben Schlenker!
When we first developed the idea of a public apiary about four years ago, our hives were in the woods just east of the Ecology Farm.  We had one or two people who intermittently kept bees in our apiary, but the idea, and the hives, never really took off.
Ben has been keeping bees for about four years over in the Vandercook Lake area, and last summer he heard about our apiary and graciously volunteered to help us make it work.  Our original apiary was relocated to a spot in the field just east of the Community Gardens, but when the gas line company came through to make sure the pipeline right-of-way was clear, the hives had to be moved again.  We didn’t have very happy bees.
This year the hives are located just to the west of the Community Gardens, and they seem to be very happy there.

During the winter Ben led two beginner bee keeping classes in our classroom, and this summer he had the first of his outdoor classes at the apiary.

This was a great hands-on presentation on how to set up your hives and make sure you have happy and healthy bees for the summer season.

A couple of the hives were opened to see what was happening inside.  This hive needed to have the frames added still – the bees were starting to build free-form combs because there were no frames.

The fragrant beeswax was removed and frames were inserted.

In the lower super, frames were already in place and the class went hunting for the queen, just so they could see her.


Because it was a cool and wet spring, and there weren’t a lot of flowers open yet, these hives were being supplemented with sugar water.  A hive can go thru a gallon of sugar water in only a handful of days.

Ben’s next class will be in September, when he will teach how to winterize hives to ensure the best possible chance for survival of the bees.

If you visit the Ecology Farm, you are welcome to take a look at the apiary, but don’t get too close.  The bees will likely be busy doing their thing, but it is not wise to chance annoying them.  Some of these hives can have many thousands of bees in them, and if they get angry, it won’t be a pretty sight.  It is best to admire them from afar.

If you are interested in keeping a hive or two at our apiary, give us a call.  For a modest annual fee, you can “rent” a bee plot and keep your hive here.   Why?  Maybe you can’t keep bees where you are due to ordinances.  Or maybe you want to have a site where your bees can be guaranteed the best chance for chemical-free sources of pollen and nectar – where better, then, than next to an organic garden (Dahlem’s Community Gardens) and acres of native vegetation (as we convert old agricultural fields into native grasslands)!

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