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Location: Ron Brown College Preparatory High School, 4800 Meade St NE, Washington, DC 20019
February bee update
All Winter the worker bees have kept their queen safe, warm, dry and fed inside the hive by clustering around her in a tight ball. They protect her because she is the future of their colony.
Deep inside the hive the queen senses the days getting longer. It is time for her to start laying eggs - a new generation of honeybees. The eggs and larvae in the nursery need lots of food and warmth. For the new bees to grow and thrive, the worker bees in the nursery increase the temperature inside the hive from 75F to 95F. This extra energy expenditure is fueled by bees consuming the honey stores inside the hive.
I can see exactly when brood-rearing kicked into high gear in my hives by watching the hive weight. Below is a plot of the hive scale data.
In this graph I can see that for most of the Winter the bees were consuming honey at the rate of 4oz per day, but on February 12 that rate nearly doubled to 7oz per day. I added 10 pounds of sugar fondant on February 16 as a kind of insurance to be sure they have enough food close at hand. This will bolster their food stores and, with luck, tide them over until the flowers in our neighborhood start to bloom and the bees can collect nectar. And in 22 days on March 5, those eggs laid on February 12 will emerge from their cells to be the first new worker bees of 2020!
If you have questions about the bees email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
This recipe takes almost no time at all and is fun for kids who want to help in the kitchen. And the sea salt brings out the honey flavor.
Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper or use a non-stick baking mat.
In a double-boiler or on the low setting in the microwave, melt together chocolate morsels. Once melted, mix in honey and water. Stir in nuts. Cool for ten minutes. Drop teaspoonsful onto a cookie sheet covered with wax paper. Sprinkle with sea salt. Yield 24 clusters.
Adapted from "Honey Recipes from Maryland Kitchens" a publication from the MD Dept of Agriculture in cooperation with the Maryland State Beekeepers Association.
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