The Penland bees just got an early spring visit from our resident bee expert Marie Fornaro and bee-expert-in-training Rachel Kedinger. They donned their jackets, gloves, and veils to check on the two hives, which are located to the side of the knoll just below the Penland Garden. In the top image, Rachel is using a bee smoker to apply a few puffs of smoke to the hive. Beekeepers have used smoke since ancient times to calm the bees and interrupt the hive’s defensive response.
Below, Marie and Rachel are taking advantage of the bees’ calmer state to check on honey supplies and remaining space in the hive. The bees will feed off their fall honey stores for a couple more weeks until spring blooms can provide a steady flow of nectar. At that point, they will begin to fill open space in the frames with a fresh supply of honey stores.
A honeybee will forage two miles or more from its hive, but having the Penland Garden right next door is still a win-win situation: the garden offers the bees a supplementary source of nectar, and the bees help pollinate the plants for a more robust harvest. It’s a win for all of us who enjoy the garden’s produce at lunch in The Pines, too.