Down East Seniors explore world of beekeeping

Published 3:15 pm Friday, May 26, 2017

The Down East Seniors Club held its May 24 meeting at the Blind Center of North Carolina in Washington. President Stewart Rumley led the meeting. Jim Hackney played for the singing of “God Bless America,” and Charles Smith gave the invocation. Dick Paul provided humor.

Charles Moore introduced Chris Furlough who spoke about beekeeping. Furlough has been beekeeping for three years and has 10 hives. He said men have been using honey for thousands of years as both a food and a medicine. Bees were not kept as honey producers until about 1500; before that, all honey was gathered in the wild. The modern hive design was patented by Rev. L. L. Langstrith in 1852. A hive consists of a stack of “supers” sitting on a solid platform. Each super is a wooden box about 18 inches square and 8 inches tall, open top and bottom, containing from eight to 10 vertical removable frames. Each frame contains a plastic sheet covered with a pattern of 3/8-inch hexagons on which bees build wax hexagons (the familiar honeycomb) that will contain honey. The bees enter the hive through a small slot under the lowest super and work up through the hive. Each hive has about 50,000 bees consisting of one queen which lays all the eggs for bee reproduction, 15-percent drones (males), and 85-percent workers (females). Workers gather nectar for making honey all summer, however the typical life of a worker is six weeks. Therefore the queen has to continuously lay eggs to maintain the population. He also answered many questions about honey and beekeeping.

Ed Bolen won the 50/50 drawing.