Managing Bee Populations at the Capital Area Food Bank

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A few lucky staff members had the opportunity to take a Beginning Beekeeping Course at the University of the District of Columbia hosted by the DC Beekeepers Alliance. After completing the eight-week course, four staff members were dubbed Certified Beekeepers in the District, and assigned a mentor to help with upkeep of the apiary in the CAFB Urban Demonstration Garden.

We have three hives and about 30,000 bees that are nearing the end of their foraging season. Bee winter, or dearth, starts in September/October in the DC region when blooms are decreasing and there is less pollen to be had. While they are collecting the last of the pollen and nectar in the area, they are also managing their growing population and trying to stay cool like everyone else!

Bee education is an essential part of the learning experience in our Urban Garden Demonstration. Much of the food we eat can be traced back to bees. They’ve either pollinated the fruits and vegetables we eat directly, or pollinated the food for the animals that we then consume. It’s important to understand the role bees play in the process so we can safeguard bees, cultivate more food, and ultimately feed more people.


Want some fun bee facts?

Apiary (n): a place where bees are kept; a collection of beehives.
Example sentence: The CAFB has an apiary in our backyard in the Urban Demonstration Garden!

Royal Jelly (n): a substance created by nurse honeybee workers to feed all new eggs and larvae that are being raised as potential queen bees.
Example sentence: If you find a queen cell with royal jelly in it, you might want to examine the hive further to make sure your bees aren’t about to swarm!

Bearding (v): when bees are assembled on the outside of the hive during hot weather. They may cling to the outside of the brood boxes, hang from the alighting board, or gather near the entrance in a triangle, or beard shape. The purpose of bearding is to manage the temperature of the hive by assembling a small group of adult bees and beating their wings to push fresh air into the hive.