Thursday, May 8, 2014

Bees from Toxic Free NC arrive at Briggs Avenue Community Garden

Durham County Extension Agent Michelle Wallace and
Extension Master Gardener Richard Ulrich set up the bee hives
in the back of the garden.
By Leanna Murphy Dono
Durham Co. Extension Master Gardener

A wonderful surprise delivery Monday, May 5 at the garden from Toxic Free NC: the 25,000 Italian honeybees we won last fall in the Toxic Free NC community garden contest are happily settling into their new hive home at Briggs Ave. Community Garden as of 3 p.m. Monday.

Special thanks to Master Beekeeper and Durham Co. Extension Master Gardener Richard Ulrich who brought all of his equipment, a hive and frames over to the garden this afternoon in response to Durham County Extension Agent Michelle Wallace's call for help with set-up. Together, Richard and Michelle suited up in their protective gear and gently placed the bees into their new hive (and no one got stung!)  The bees are from a farm near Asheville, NC, and they began immediately to settle in and began sending out scouts to forage.

The gardeners will notice the hive next to the wood pile at the back of the orchard.  You will see the bees buzzing about the hive – coming and going, learning about their new environment.  No need to disturb them, please!  For the most part, you will not notice they are there (except for the quiet hum); the bees are quite to content to their own tasks of foraging and tending the queen. 
We gardeners will immediately notice an increase in fruit production (more berries, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, squash, cucumbers, etc.) as the bees begin to pollinate our crops; we will not get honey this growing season but hope to harvest some in 2015.

If anyone has any sensitivity or allergy to bee stings, please do take precautions when in the garden (like having an Epi-pen with you), in the extremely unlikely scenario of a bee sting.

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