Sweet 16 at Camelback Resort Apiary Management
We believe in sustainable beekeeping practices in raising our own bees from survivor stock of local colonies as well as raising our own queens should a colony need to be requeened or need an emergency queen. We have 2 bee yards at the resort with a total of 6 full colonies along with a "Queen Castle" housing 3, 3 frame colonies.
The primary yard is behind the resort near Massad Pond where 4 of the colonies along with the "Queen Castle" are located. This site was chosen as it is visible from Hemispheres restaurant as well as the conference/ball rooms on the 4th floor. The other yard is located on the mountain under the Meadows lift just before the top on the Laurel Glade side. This yard is visible during the ATV tours as well as in the winter on the lift.
Our hives are all medium Langstroth hives with slatted rack using 2 boxes for brood with queen excluders for honey above the brood chamber. We employ the Pennsylvania State Beekeepers Association Best Management Practice in both yards.
Our Winter preparation includes leaving behind enough honey for each colony to survive the winter, depending on the size of the colony will be between 30-60lbs of honey. We also use the " Mountain camp method" for emergency feeding as well as moisture management. This method uses a 2" shim at the top along with a paper barrier that you place granulated sugar on top of and can easily check by just peeking in the top. If the sugar is gone you can easily replace instead of allowing the colony to starve. The second benefit it provides is allowing a barrier to cold moist air condensing back down onto the bees. Eventually the top layer of sugar glazes over and becomes hard which still protects the bees as the condensed moisture will roll down the sides of the hive and not on the bees directly. Another tool we employ during winter is the use of our FLIR One Pro thermal camera attachment to our phones. Monthly use of this allows us to see the movement of the colony as it consumes its stores through the winter and we can see if they have moved to the upper boxes and could need more emergency food.
We intend to split the stronger colonies in the spring to offset any losses we have and when we begin to see swarm cells that is what starts our queen castles. Biweekly inspections along with monthly Mite counts starting in May allow us to ensure the health of our colonies as well as using HiveTracks to keep an electronic record of each hive.