Our Honey Bees
Our honey bees were originally raised at a treatment-free apiary in Benson, right down the road from Mercy Ecospirituality Center. In 2020, Kayla, our beekeeper, began her beekeeping journey as they began their new lives on the land.
What hive styles are used?
Our colonies currently live in two different hive styles.
One lives in a standard Langstroth (shown on the right), where the bees build vertically from their brood chamber at the base to their honey stores at the top. Boxes are added to the top as they grow and build upwards.
Two live in a Layens style (shown on the left), which has a taller inner cavity and allows the bees to build horizontally. As they grow and build outwards, frames are added within the hive for extra honey storage. The walls are insulated with wool from our sheep to help the bees stay cooler in the summer time and warmer in the winter.
A single honey bee will produce just 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime.
Did you know?
Is the honey harvested?
Yes, it is! We've harvested one season of honey so far and, after leaving plenty for the bees, we hope to have another in the fall. We do have some available for sale in the farmhouse, so please stop by and say hello!
Honey bees have special glands that convert the sugar content of honey into tiny flakes of wax. Worker bees then chew these pieces of wax until they're soft and moldable in order to build the comb.
Is anything done with the leftover wax?
The wax from the comb is separated from the honey during the harvest, rendered down, strained and cubed for future use. We're hoping to someday gather together in community for activities like candle making, so keep an eye on our program page!
According to the Vermont Center for Ecostudies, there are more than 300 different bee species in Vermont. We of course tend to the honey bee (Apis mellifera, originally from Europe), but we do what we can to ensure the survival of the many native species who also pollinate our fruits, flowers and vegetables.
A Nod to Local Pollinators
Are classes taught at the center?
Classes aren't taught at the center, but we do offer opportunities to take part in hive inspections, swarm catches and honey bee lifecycle education as part of our volunteer experiences. One example is through our 6-week summer immersion with Mercy Volunteer Corps (MVC) - click through for more information!