Bring on the Bees

Bees are busy outdoors and inside Elachee Nature Science Center these days. The Mike and Robbie McCormac Pollinator Pass exhibit features two demonstration bee hives. Volunteer beekeepers Garry McGlaun and Peter Gordon worked earlier this spring to set-up these hives and they will maintain them into the fall. We are grateful for their expertise and knowledge that make it possible for our visitors to witness a pollinator ecosystem at work!

Setting up the Hive

What is involved with getting these working hives ready for visitors to view each spring? Our exhibit undergoes a thorough cleaning. It is critical to remove any leftover debris, wax resident and pests that may have invaded the dormant hives.

We rely on Garry to help us order and purchase our bees in time for them to arrive in early April for Peter and he to set up their hives. Bees must be monitored closely during the first two weeks of their hive set up, as swarming is common. Until the outside temperatures are consistently warm enough for the bees to head outdoors to forage for pollen each day, we feed each hive sugar water.

It is fascinating to watch each hive, seeing it in action particularly because our indoor exhibit has clear glass giving observers an up-close view of the bees at work. While hearing the low buzz of these diligent workers, you can watch their progress throughout the season, seeing them cap off cells for larva and produce honey on the wax combs.

The hives in the Pollinator Pass exhibit provide resident bees access to the outdoors through clear ingress and egress tubes connected to the hives. It is a unique experience seeing the bees leave the hive and venture outside to our pollinator garden because in a standard hive box set up you do not typically get to see the bees come and go. Observe the bees entering the building from the vantage point of the pollinator garden just outside the indoor exhibit, or stand inside and watch the bees come and go.

Our hives will have thousands of observers from April through November as students on school field trips and summer day campers get the chance to visit the bees. As a seasonal attraction, we encourage the visiting public and Elachee members to call ahead to confirm access during business hours, 770-535-1976.