Thursday, 22 November 2018

Four Hives

So after a two week holiday at Raul the Beekeeper's place our two new hives were returned with a healthy queen in each and a pumping hive of bees. 

Since then we have been checking our hives every two weeks to make sure things are all good. 

Last week however, Sharna and her Dad noticed a few bees swarming indicating something was happening in one of our hives. 

We have just been out to check them this morning and we have had some bees swarm on us. Hive number 4 has lost it's Queen and as a result some of the bees have taken off to find somewhere to better to settle. 

However, it is not bad news as all we need to do is introduce a new queen into the hive where some bees have decided to stay and continue to make honey. 

Hive 1 is looking healthy with plenty of brood. Hive 2 is our most pumping hive and would be our biggest and Hive 3 is building up it's population as well. 

If the weather continues the way it is we are going to be extracting a whole lot more honey than last year which is really exciting news!!

Some drone bees

The team checking the hives

A frame full of honey and brood cells

If you look closely you can see our Queen. She has a big yellow bottom. 

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Splitting our hives

So the last Thursday of Term 3 was a super exciting day for us as it was the day we were going to split our hive! 

In the week prior to this the children had been very busy researching hive splitting, how to do it, why, when and have created iMovies with their information. Be sure to check back in on our blog next week as we are hoping to get them uploaded. 

So the morning began with putting up the gazebo so those of us who weren't going in bee suits could still get close to the action and see what was going on. The gazebo has two mesh sides so we can stand on the inside and position it nice and close to the beehives. 

Then Raul and his team of helpers were into action. First they had to check the hive and make sure the queen was in the bottom box before the top box was taken off and sealed up to be transported into Raul's place. Once he gets this bee box full of workers bees back to his place he waits 24 hours for the old queens pheromones to fade and then introduces a new queen into the hive which the bees adjust to and accept as their new queen. 

Raul surprised us all and split both of our hives so we will double to four hives in the new term. Honey extraction is going to be a lot busier next season!

Check out the action shots below! We are looking forward to getting our new hives back on Friday!

Healthy looking hive

Inserting Veroa treatment strips

Down the bottom of the frame the light yellow are honey cells. The big rounded one towards the top are drone cells. 

Sugar syrup to keep our bees well fed

Adding the frames we made into our hives so the bees can start to make honey on them

Two boxes, one from each of our hives, ready for the trip to Raul the Beekeeper's place for a 3 week holiday

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Bee Aware Month

So September is Bee Aware Month which is aimed at raising the awareness and information around our fantastic honey bee.

Since we already know a lot about bees since we have our own our Bee Aware Month is busy preparing to split a hive. This will be the first time we have split a hive and will take our hive numbers from 2 to 3 hives which mean more yummy Toko School honey next year!

At the moment we have been super busy designing and painting our bee boxes for our new hive. Once we have these all finished we will screw them together and fill them with the wooden frames that we have built.

Raul the Beekeeper is in on Thursday to help us split our hive. He will take some bees out of our existing hive and move them into the new beehive and take them into town to his place. Here they will stay for 2 weeks and he will introduce a new queen into the hive. The beehive needs to be taken a minimum of 6km's from school as that is the distance of a bee's flying radius.

At the beginning of Term 4 Raul the Beekeeper will return the hive to school with it's new queen and it will begin to build it's numbers so it can make lots of yummy honey for us.

Exciting times ahead!



Thursday, 9 August 2018

Hive Check

Last week when Raul the Beekeeper came to visit we got to get into some bee suits and go and check on how things were going in our hives. This was all very exciting as we hadn't been out and actually opened our hives for a look in a long time. In the winter we try to avoid opening the hive as the bees are working extremely hard to keep the temperature of the hive nice and warm when its cold outside.  

For some of us it was also out first time in bee suits which was exciting. 

Both of our hives are looking healthy. We have plenty of brood in both hives and in our second hive they are starting to produce new wax comb in preparation for Spring. 

Since food is in short supply over the winter months we topped them up with some sugar syrup which they will consume very quickly in a number of days. 

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Honey Bee Life Cycle

So it has been a long time between blog posts! 
Since our last blog post we have been very busy selling our honey and the beeswax wraps we made in Term 1. We are now down to 23 small jars of honey which I'm sure will be snapped up before we know it. 

During Term 2 our bee focused moved into research as the season turned into winter. During the winter we have to leave the bees to it as they drop in numbers and settle in for the winter. Raul our Beekeeper is checking on them reguarly and feeding them sugar syrup to provide extra food since there is very little nectar and pollen around. 

The kids worked in groups or independently to inquiry into the life cycle of the honey bee. They created a range of interesting ways to display their findings and you will have to pop into our classroom to see and read them! 

Below are a few pictures showcasing all their hard work. 

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Honey for Sale

We have got our honey all labelled and it is now ready to sell. 

We did some maths yesterday and worked out we have 101 big jars of honey and 105 small jars of honey. 
The small jars contain 250 grams of honey and the big ones 350 grams. 

We calculated that we had extracted a total of 61.7kg of honey in our first season! 

We have also been busy working on our honey business plan and have calculated our expenses and profit per unit. Lots of great learning!

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Honey Logo

A few weeks ago now the kids were set a homework task to design a logo for our Toko School Bees and the honey we are going to sell. 

The kids did a great job in creating a range of logos below. Some were hand drawn and some created by bringing clip art together or even creating it from scratch in Google Drawings. 

We spent a lot of time discussing what makes a successful logo and what we needed for our bees logo. 

The children then voted to narrow the design choices down to 6 before we had a final vote. 

The design we ended up choosing was created by Amy Smith and we chose it as we believed it was simple and effective. It could also be modified to suit the product we were selling. We could change the text when we were selling honey or beeswax wraps. 

It was a hard decision as we were all blown away by the creativity of Kysen Keegan's design which he created from scratch on Google Drawings. Since it was specific to our honey we decided we would include it on the label of our honey because it was just too cool not to use.