Beekeepers of Northern Shenandoah (BONS) have partnered to establish an apiary in the park. As part of this partnership, BONS president Doug Morris and his wife Ramona maintain the hives and present programs at the park.
With the last of cold weather behind us, itwas time to examine the Sky Meadows State Park hives and see how they fared over the long winter. The West Hive bee colony is doing well and increasing in number. The East Hive did not survive the winter, and needed to be replaced.
We bought a package of bees and a queen. A package is about 3 pounds of bees in a wooden box 16 inches long, 8 inches high and 6 inches wide. The box has two screened sides so the bees can get air and, occasionally, be lightly sprayed with water to keep them hydrated. The box top has a 3-inch diameter hole that holds a can filled with sugar syrup. The bottom of the can has two pinholes from which the bees feed. There is also a narrow tape going through the top hole. At the end of the tape, hanging among the bees, is a queen cage. The cage measures 3 inches by 1 inch by ¾ inch and has one side screened. The queen and two or three worker bees are inside the cage. The worker bees are necessary because the queen cannot feed herself.