Wait - what is a post about Boy Scout Summer Camp doing in a beekeeping blog? You'll see...
We took 7 boys to Camp Joseph in Vermont for the week-long summer camp. My son was one of the youth, and I was one of the leaders. While at camp I made sure I made the rounds to see how the boys in the troop were doing in their Merit Badge classes.
One of the boys took Insect Study Merit Badge, and during morning announcements the merit badge counselor asked for another adult volunteer to go with him and his class on a field trip. He said they were going to visit a beekeeper! I raised my hand immediately; needless to say you didn't have to twist my arm to go. There were 2 visits to the beekeeper planned - one before lunch, and one after lunch.
So we set off to visit this older lady who keeps 3 hives on her farm. She gave the typical explanation of bees and bee equipment to the boys.
I told her I was a beekeeper, and contributed to some of the discussion (you know beekeepers can't keep their mouths closed!)
So I was set to do the same for the session after lunch, when the merit badge counselor got a call from the beekeeper. Apparently her mother-in-law had taken ill, and she and her husband would have to leave out of town immediately and the second session would have to be canceled.
Then she had an idea - she said that I could give the instruction to the boys during the second session, and was welcome to use her hives and equipment. That was fantastic!
One problem was that I didn't have any of my beekeeping gear with me. All she had were a few ratty old veils, so I used one of those. Here I am getting in the hives and showing the boys:
It was my first time getting into a hive in shorts and a T-shirt! The bees were nice, as the weather was very warm and most of the bees weren't in the hive. We didn't see the queen, as her hives were a little hard to work (it didn't appear she got in them a lot, and there were some damaged frames). But the boys were especially impressed when I grabbed a drone from the frame and brought it around showing them up close (after explaining that a drone can't sting!).
Here's a good shot of her hives with bees bringing in pollen: