Groton Central School
Starting Bee Colonies in Spring 2012
- Project by Science Teacher Mr. Paul Wiech and students
Luke Babel, Mackenzie Corcoran, Kodie Coyne,
Trever Empson, Anneliesse Hess, Camille Holmes,
Otis Jackson, Courtney Jansen, Darian Knapp,
Taylor Perosio, Alen Quints, Nate Stabler,
and Katie Vanbenschoten
Our group is currently working to start at least two successful bee colonies on school grounds as a chance for an exciting and important learning experience. The hives will give students a chance to learn apiarist skills, which they could carry on into their later lives. The student garden and the anticipated school orchard, which are both aimed at providing fresh produce to the cafeteria, will also receive benefit from the pollination of the bees, along with the area surrounding the school. Anticipated challenges of this project are the possibility of CCD, Colony Collapse Disorder, affecting our hives. We will have to deal with this by caring for our hives in the best possible way we can and providing everything necessary for their success. This project gives us an exciting chance to make a difference.
We intend on beginning work on this project as early as the weather will permit. We have begun the construction of the hives inside. Some assembly is required for certain components of the hives. We will also need to paint each hive to prevent rotting. The hives are mainly made of wood so this is a necessary step. When the snow first thaws we will go out to the location of where we will set up the apiary and begin clearing away debris from the site making it clean and accessible. The ground should be flattened and built up slightly with gravel to provide better drainage in case of heavy rain.
This will prevent the hives from becoming wet or flooded, which would weaken or kill the colonies. When the apiary is ready and the hives are constructed and painted we will set up the hives in the apiary. The bees themselves, which are very important part of the project, will be awaited after this process has been completed. In the time that we are waiting for the bees to arrive, I will begin teaching students who are interested in the care of the hives the basics of beekeeping. I intend on having some of our key partners come in and talk about the proper techniques as well and experiences they’ve had with beekeeping. When the bees arrive we will have the help of experienced beekeepers in installing them into the awaiting hives. Again depending on the weather situation the time that this happens may vary. After we have functioning bee hives we will begin caring for them about every other week. Too much interaction with them can cause stress on the colony, while not enough care can result in overcrowding and swarming. We will learn from the bees as we gain experience in their care.
Benefits for Community and Local Wildlife
This project will have a large benefit to the local wildlife and the community because of added pollination. Pollination is very important in the reproduction of plants and the health of the environment. The honey bees will pollinate the wild plants in the area surrounding their hive making the environment more productive. Healthier more productive plants will give the local wildlife a better source of food, shelter, and a healthier habitat. The community will also benefit from the pollination; gardens and crops around the hives will be more productive with better pollination. The school will benefit as well from the pollination, it will improve the production of two other projects we have; the student garden and school orchard.
Click below to see the presentation at the February 6, 2012 Board of Education meeting by students Camille Holmes, Taylor Perosio and Mackenzie Corcoran along with teacher, Mr. Wiech.