Historic London Town and Gardens Blog

Tagged in: Gardens , Bees
Posted by: Rod Cofield

Kai the BeekeeperAhhh, May is here and that means its time to check on the bees.  On Saturday, May 1, Kai Richardson came to London Town to see how his hives (in our Woodland Garden) were doing.  It was quite an experience for me to see the hives disassembled and then put back together.  Below are some pictures of Kai working as well as his own guest blog entry:


"It indeed was a fantastic day for checking on the bees.  The sun was shining and bees were especially active.  These two hives have thrived in Londontowne, particularly the one on the left.  Since I brought it to Londontowne 3 years ago from my former Charles County home, it has developed into the largest and most vibrant hive I have ever cared for.  Last year, over 100 pounds of delicious tulip poplar honey was harvested from this single hive, and from the way things look this spring, I am hopeful that we will have another bumper crop.

For obvious reasons, Spring is a critical time for both the bees and for beekeepers.  This is especially true in Maryland which has such a short "nectar flow" season.  This is the short three months starting April 1st and ending in late June during which there are plentiful nectar producing plants such as tulip poplar trees, locust trees, and basswood trees.  A beekeeper has to be ready to take advantage of this time when there is an excess of nectar and the bees are in full force to collect it and store it as honey.  As you can see from these pictures, I have loaded each hive with 5 extra boxes, or "supers", filled with just empty plastic honeycomb.  The bees are genetically predisposed to fill any extra space in the hive with nectar, even if they don't need that much to make it through the winter.  By July 4th here in Maryland, the nectar flow will end, and the extra boxes will be removed - hopefully full of Londontowne honey.  Not to worry though:  enough honey is always left for the bees, and there is a short nectar flow from fall flowers so they should have no problems surviving even the harshest Maryland winter!"



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