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Beehives in schools


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Hi,

I have just installed my observation hive in a classroom at my son's primary school. We will be starting a school hive in the spring (my intention was to do it during the NBA's 'bee week', 20-24 August). We want the kids to get as hands on as possible - get them putting frames together, going through the hive regularly to see how it's going, harvesting honey etc.

 

Is anyone involved with a school beehive? I would love to hear what the major issues that might come up are, what works well and generally how positively such a project is received.

 

Cheers,

Otto

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Hi Otto,

Love the flower. I imagine they're a challenge to grow there.

Oturu school up here has beehives and as you can see from the links achieved a bit more than just keeping bees.

http://oturuschool.org/

http://oturuschool.org/future-problem-solvers/

http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/northland/northern-news/6269854/Oturus-magical-garden

Hi Wayne,

Awesome! Will forward this link to the teacher in charge of the enviroschool side of things here. Thanks for the links.

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Hi Otto,

Love the flower. I imagine they're a challenge to grow there.

Oturu school up here has beehives and as you can see from the links achieved a bit more than just keeping bees.

http://oturuschool.org/

http://oturuschool.org/future-problem-solvers/

http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/northland/northern-news/6269854/Oturus-magical-garden

PS. The flower is a Masdevallia hybrid (orchid). In a greenhouse they grow very well down here with only a minimal amount of heating in winter to keep frost out.

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Hi Otto,

Love the flower. I imagine they're a challenge to grow there.

Oturu school up here has beehives and as you can see from the links achieved a bit more than just keeping bees.

http://oturuschool.org/

http://oturuschool.org/future-problem-solvers/

http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/northland/northern-news/6269854/Oturus-magical-garden

Hi Wayne,

Are you the beekeeper that is in charge of the hive? If so, please let me know as I have a few questions I'd like to ask.

Thanks,

Otto

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The school had an enviroschool workshop this week and the bees were apparently of interest. The link below has a 2 min story from Dunedin's channel 9.

My wife fielded a phone call today asking if cell phones were killing the bumblebees in her backyard (after a comment from one of the kids in the article).

 

http://www.ch9.co.nz/content/observational-beehive-installed-classroom

Hi Otto, What a great item. I am across the harbour at the foot of Harbour Cone and am struck by the interest people have now about bees and hives, and when I mention bee keeping the peson immediately asks me to put a hive on thier property !

Changing the topic, I have done a sugar test - negative - but have been told that a Bayvarol test is far more sensitive. I gather you have confirmed this. Regards.

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Well done Otto, thats the kind of education that our kids really need to help them make a difference to the way the world is heading. Really appreciate people like you that make time to invest in our kids futures.

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Thats fantastic - the success of the future is through the education of our youth - its doesnt take very long before those kids are re-educating the older generation .. I have seen it 1st hand with kids fishing off the wharf re-educating their "take every thing that moves" dads - Dad squirms and looks a bit confussed and slightly sheepish as the penny drops after being told by a 9 year old enough is enough !!

Its my inderstanding that there are a few other schools also involved or thinking about how to get involved in bees.

Another school who is is actively involved is Wellingtons "Onslow College".

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Nelson College for Boys is running a beekeeping apprenticeship type thingy for boys interested in entering the beekeeping industry when they leave school

Sounds great. Beekeeping is not straight forward - lots to learn. An apprenticeship system has the potential to work very well. I guess it comes down to local beekeepers being prepared to take on those that are serious about it as a career option.

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Thats fantastic - the success of the future is through the education of our youth - its doesnt take very long before those kids are re-educating the older generation .. I have seen it 1st hand with kids fishing off the wharf re-educating their "take every thing that moves" dads - Dad squirms and looks a bit confussed and slightly sheepish as the penny drops after being told by a 9 year old enough is enough !!

Its my inderstanding that there are a few other schools also involved or thinking about how to get involved in bees.

Another school who is is actively involved is Wellingtons "Onslow College".

Good to see that there are schools that are encouraging the keeping of and learning about bees. It will be an interesting experiment to see how the Primary School kids go with it. Certainly from the learning perspective I think it will work very well. I will find out about the kids handle the physical side of beekeeping next season. Looking forward to it.

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Hukanui Primary school here in Hamilton has a Lang hive up and running, even selling their honey ! Michelle White, the teacher in charge came and did my 6 week beekeeping night class and is now the beekeeper in charge ! Also, another school teacher I know has built a topbar hive on a bench in his class workshop with a tube going outside for the bees to come and go, lockable lid and glass frontage - very cool ! Te Miro school has a hive also.

I speak to schools, usually primary schools and love it ! The kids are so keen to learn.

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Hukanui Primary school here in Hamilton has a Lang hive up and running, even selling their honey ! Michelle White, the teacher in charge came and did my 6 week beekeeping night class and is now the beekeeper in charge ! Also, another school teacher I know has built a topbar hive on a bench in his class workshop with a tube going outside for the bees to come and go, lockable lid and glass frontage - very cool ! Te Miro school has a hive also.

I speak to schools, usually primary schools and love it ! The kids are so keen to learn.

Great to hear. I'm looking forward to getting the kids much more hands on in Spring and seeing how it goes. If it all works well I will look into getting other schools going too (although it could get time consuming). Could look at getting more beekeepers involved...

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  • 3 months later...

Bit slack on the updating front.

 

I moved a proper hive into Opoho School during Bee Week 2012. It currently sits in the schools garden area. A little up in the air as to whether or not it will stay there at this point as there is one parent of one child at the school who is taking it upon themselves to try and derail the project.

 

On the positive side - I have had two sessions going through the hives with some of the school children. The first was a five minute peak in the hive (was a bit rushed for time). Last Friday five students joined me for a full hive inspection. The hive is currently a single 3/4 box, 8 frames and a 2-frame feeder. It is doing very well and is in need of some extra space. It had 6 frames of mostly brood, the two side frames both had quite a lot of honey and pollen. We've had some great weather recently and it showed - all the brood frames had a nice rim of pollen and honey around them. No sign of any disease. The kids all saw what the queen, eggs, larvae and sealed brood looks like. I had slipped a monitoring tray under the hive the day before so we also did a natural mite fall check and found six mites (treatment will go in this week). I think I could easily have spent an extra hour answering questions. Really good fun all up.

 

As for the concerned parent mentioned above - we already have a neighbouring property lined up to accommodate a school hive if we can't work out a way to keep the hive on school grounds. It will of course need to be a different hive.

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If this school is anything to go by - schools are very active in managing allergies. For any child with a serious allergy the principal and relevant teacher sits down with the parents and they come up with an allergy management plan which can include epipens. The teachers are fully instructed on how these need to be used too. They go through all the potential places/events where their allergy could be an issue and work out how to manage the risk.

 

There are no children at this school with known bee allergies. The problem is the 'possible allergy'. I have a pretty good understanding of how the immune system allergies work and as far as I am concerned there isn't really any such thing as a possible allergy - you are either allergic or not. There are certainly degrees of severity with allergies though. It is tough trying to explain this to people who refuse to listen though!

 

The parent that is concerned is supposedly allergic to bee stings and therefore seems to think their child will also be. A specific allergy is NOT a heritable trait. A propensity to get allergies is certainly linked to genetics (e.g. hayfever often runs in families) but specific allergies require an individual's immune system to have seen the allergen before.

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i think the biggest concern would be that someone has not been stung before so does not know if they are allergic or not.

I tried to explain this - if you have not been stung you cannot be allergic. You can only get an allergy response to something you've been exposed to before - in the case of bee stings, you have to have been stung before.

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If your child is allergic to bees, they are always at risk whether there is a hive at their school or not.

Yes, this was one of our arguments. Last year an AFB rob out was found in North East Valley - between 1 and 2km from the school. Every beekeeper within a 5km radius of this got sent the letter that this was found. I discussed this with Frans at the time and he said that 38 letters were sent to beekeepers for that AFB incident. That means a minimum of 38 registered apiaries in that area, plus feral colonies (which we still have).

If the bees stay in the school we will also put up a 2m light shadecloth screen to force the bees to fly straight up on leaving the hive.

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