The onset of cold weather marked the conclusion of the first season for York’s honeybees. Despite an extremely hot and dry summer, 2010 was a successful year for York’s Apiary. More than 35 students joined the Beekeeping Society to help care for the honeybees and the students’ effort (with a lot of help from the bees) resulted in a harvest of enough honey to share with the entire school. Once the fall flowers stopped blooming, the students fed the bees a mixture of sugar and water to help them build up their food stores for the winter. Our hungry bees consumed 90 pounds of sugar in November that will help them survive their first winter at York.
Honeybees do not “hibernate” but will form a cluster in their hives and can generate enough heat to keep the colony at 93?F. The queen will suspend her egg-laying for winter and the hive will almost exclusively be made up of female workers. The drones were expelled—dragged from the hives by the workers—in the late fall. There is no room for the lazy and unproductive males in the winter cluster, a fact that the female members of the Beekeeping Society seemed to find extremely amusing, much to the discomfort of the boys in the club.
The bees will be on their own for the winter but will find the rooftop blooming with crocuses, daffodils, and tulips when spring arrives. More than 300 bulbs were planted by the seniors to make sure the bees had plenty of flowers waiting for them when they emerge from their winter hives.