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E-Piary installed at Empire Farm Brewery

05
Jul
2016

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The honey bees have arrived at Empire Farm Brewery! A big thanks to Scott Ouderkirk at River Road Farm in Hammond, New York for cultivating the hives over the past year. Our apiary, or what we like to call our “e-piary,” will play a large role on the farm as key pollinators for lavender, wild flowers, fruits, and vegetables grown on site and also supply raw, natural, estate honey for our kitchen and brewery.

Beekeeper, Scott Ouderkirk made the trip with 4 full hives. Each hive has two deep boxes and one medium (for all you beekeepers out there), on an open trailer. Upon arrival Scott walked us through the process of setting up a fifth beehive by using a split. A beehive split is made by dividing an existing colony into two parts. From the existing hive the split is given frames of honey, brood, worker bees, and drones to imitate a normal nest structure but is left missing one huge factor, a QUEEN! Once the new hive recognizes that it is without a queen the worker bees will choose several of the existing small larvae and feed them ample amounts of royal jelly into specially made queen cells. This will trigger the genes necessary for the nascent queen to develop ovaries, which is needed in order to lay eggs and grow the new colony.

Upon the split a month long process begins before a queen is ready to take her throne and start producing eggs (a throne she is able to keep for as long as six years!)

What’s a beekeeper to do during these 4 weeks? WAIT and mark the calendar for very specific days to be opening the hive for observation.  Update: Just four days after the split, queen cells have been formed and capped, which is a sure sign the hive is working to make a queen to sustain in its new home in our backyard.

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We’re excited to buzz about our experiences in the e-piary as we continue to learn and grow. Stay tuned for more updates on our newsletter, blog and social media platforms!