The Boise State Bee Team (the campus beekeeping club) took an edu-vacation to Oregon State University this summer. The eight students on the trip coined this term “edu-vacation” as the perfect description for our adventure because it was an educational vacation. Seemed fitting. We took this opportunity to visit the OSU honey bee lab and research facility and bring home some new knowledge to share with the rest of the Bee Team. We came home pleasantly surprised at what we found and learned.
The Honey Bee Lab at OSU provides commercial and hobbyist beekeepers with applied research, best practices, and diagnostic services for maintaining healthy, happy bees. We were hosted by two wonderful ladies – Carolyn and Ellen. We first arrived at their educational apiary – a beautiful green space with a patio, swing, pollinator gardens, greenhouses for horticulture studies, and a variety of traditional and unique bee hives.
Who knew there were so many types of beehives! We saw many traditional Langstroth hives, which are the standard boxes that stack one atop another with eight or ten frames inside. They had a traditional skep hive, which is the type you see featured in many cartoon drawings of bees. These aren’t widely used anymore because inspecting the hive and harvesting the honey require significant damage to the colony.
We also learned about top-bar hives, which are long, narrow, and up off the ground. These are popular in Africa, but can also be found here in the United States.
They also had little hives I called “Barbie hives” which are adorable mini queen nucs. These are used to delicately raise and nurture new/unborn queens. We were also able to see a queen castle, which is altered from a traditional Langstroth hive but sectioned into four equal parts with their own individual entrance. These are also used to raise and nurture new queens.
So much was learned in just a one day visit! And, our hospitable hosts treated us to homemade pizza using their outdoor wood fired oven.
Not a bad place to visit!
Check out my next blog where I share stories of our field day inspecting hives in their research apiary! Keep your bees buzzin’ y’all!