For this inaugural year of our Youth Scholarship Program, LCBA chose the Toledo High School District. LCBA's 2014 Membership Coordinator, Dr. Tomme Trikosko, embedded the Washington State Beekeepers' Association's apprentice beekeeping curriculum in her animal husbandry course, so that all of these students learned about honey bees & beekeeping.
LCBA thanks the Toledo High School District & its adminstrators for its enthusiastic support of this program, including raising funds to buy the WSBA beginning beekeeping handbook for students.
11th graders Mason Gaul & Joevanie Montalvo applied and were selected as LCBA's first Youth Scholarship students. Mason has worked with mentor Kent Yates, a longtime LCBA member & beekeeper; Joevanie has worked with Tomme, known to her students as "Dr. Tri." Below & opposite are some highlights of Mason's & Joevanie's first year as beekeepers.
Joevanie hives his bees
Below, Joevanie holds his first package of honey bees. A package of bees contains 3 pounds, about 10,000 bees. These bees came from California, where commercial breeders inserted a queen bee into a queen cage to protect her from the 3 pounds of worker bees swept into the box. During their two days of travel, these bees begin to be "claimed" by the queen's pheromones, a process that continues after the bees are hived as they eat through a candy plug to release the queen into the colony.
Above, see how the hive stand & hive boxes are set well off the ground on cinder blocks: this is to prevent moisture getting into the colony & causing fungus, mold, & other problems. Mason & Dr. Tri used "medium supers" rather than deep hive bodies - medium supers are lighter when full, easier to lift, & can be used interchangeably as brood boxes or honey supers in future years.
At left, above, is Joevanie's smoker, to calm bees while working them, and a Boardman feeder, a jar with a lower mount & entry to feed the bees. Bees are stimulated to draw wax & build comb on frames by the one:one sugar:water solution in the feeder.
Above, Joevanie has placed the package of bees gently into the hive box & inserted the queen cage against a frame. After hiving, the bees moved out of the package and onto the frames, where they released their queen.
Below, Joevanie prepares to cover the hive with an inner cover - with a hole to provide ventilation - & a telescoping cover, which fits loosely over the top, providing shelter & escape for moisture.
Below, Joevanie gently slides the inner cover in place, carefully avoiding crushing any bees. The robin's-egg-blue color was Joevanie's choice for painting his hive boxes, unanimously endorsed by his classmates:
Below, Joevanie after successfully hiving his first bees!
Below, Joevanie with mom Sherry Montalvo:
Below, Joevanie helping at LCBA's exhibit at the Spring Youth Fair (see details, above right column). Both Youth Scholarship students helped at LCBA Fair exhibits this year, part of the public outreach portion of the scholarship program:
Below, Joevanie helps a friend find a queen in LCBA's observation hive at the Southwest Washington Fair. By Fair time, Joevanie had become expert in locating the queen by quickly identifying her retinue, the circle of attendant bees who feed & groom her. Joevanie is well on his way to becoming an effective beekeeper!
Above, LCBA's first Youth Scholarship Program students & mentors. From left to right, Mason Gaul & his mentor Kent Yates, Dr. Tomme Trikosko & her mentee Joevanie Montalvo.
Toledo’s Town Crier covered Tomme’s animal husbandry class at Toledo H.S., featuring the beekeeping program with WSBA’s curriculum. Visit: http://hometowndebate.com/toledo-raising-beekeepers-in-new-animal-husbandry-program-cms-3089
Mason removes a swarm of bees from a Toledo H.S. building
Below: with the help of her students, Dr. Tri put bait hives around the Toledo H.S. building in hope of catching swarms for students to observe. . . .
. . . and one of the first things her students learned: bees don't read books. Below, a swarm of bees completely ignored the lovely bait box pictured above, and instead went through a knothole & installed themselves inside a building where honey bees had lived before. Look closely & you'll see bees entering & exiting, attracted by old honey & pheromonal odors:
Below, the swarm of bees were nesting in the old comb - as could be seen when the wall was opened:
Below, Mason begins his first-ever removal of a swarm of bees, assisted by longtime Ethel beekeeper & LCBA member Rob Jenkins:
Under Rob's & Dr. Tri's instructions, Mason carefully cut away the runs of comb to hive these bees in a box. Below, that's one big handful of bees:
Below, Mason & several dozen new friends:
Here's Mason looking pretty pleased with the outcome of his adventure!
Below, Mason helping out at LCBA's exhibit at the Spring Youth Fair, May 3-4 at the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds. Mason worked with LCBA President Norm Switzler to help visitors to our booth find the queen bee in our observation hive, as well as watch baby bees hatch out & other bee behaviors.
As of August 2014, both Joevanie's and Mason's bees are thriving. The next stage will be fall management, preparing the bees to survive winter through feeding and monitoring for possible diseases and parasites. The Youth Scholarship students attend workshops in topics like this to help supplement the WSBA Apprentice curriculum with hands on experience.
Honey harvesting! Joevanie was fortunate to have honey this year ~ most first year beekeepers do not harvest honey as the colony builds up & establishes itself. For photos of Joevanie extracting his first honey, click here to visit our Photo Gallery.
Joevanie's sisters are interested in working with their brother on next year's bees!
Also next year, Joevanie & Mason will help mentor the new 2015 LCBA Youth Scholarship students as they start their beekeeping adventures.