Getting experience

Today I accompanied Jeff Miller of DCHoneybees to install two hives and to check on his hives at Bread for the City.

I first heard about Jeff on our local NPR station, in this terrific and inspirational little piece.

Like any sensible person, I decided to stalk him. Seriously though, I wanted to see what he was up to, in person. I emailed him and before I knew it Jeff was kind enough to let me tag along with him as he went about his daily work, on a busy day of bee installations. This is Jeff, tickling the newly resident bees on a rooftop above a bar, located across from the DC Convention Center.
It is some reassurance to see how simple the process was. I wish I’d gotten it on video but I was too busy watching his every move. These were Italian bees; very easy to work with, but not super-hearty (may need to be re-queened before winter). The bees on top of Bread for the City are Russian ones, and already a little better-established, already, plus are a heartier and more aggressive strain, so we wore our veils. I felt cool. The Bread in the City hives are foundation-less; the bees are building out naturally. I got to inspect the cells, in one of the hives there are some issues which Jeff will be correcting by installing a new queen; I’ll spare you the beekeeping nitty-gritty, but suffice it to say, it was very informative.

The last hive we installed was in SE; sadly, the queen and her posse had died somewhere in transit… the hive will be OK for a little while while Jeff gets another, but this was a good reality check for me about the fragility of the whole affair. These bees are sensitive creatures.

I have been taking all these pics with my Blackberry, as the old camera is in the shop. I have a hunch that a good macro lens is going to be a necessity.

Nothing beats learning by doing. Thanks for a fabulous day, Jeff!