In 2014, three members of St. Peter's, Chuck and Sandy Dailey along with Gary Sanders began the idea of raising honeybees on the property here at St. Peter's. Numerous hours of reading and learning about what it would take to raise honeybees ensued and a corral was built in the Fall of 2014.
In Spring 2015, the supers were constructed and the three new beekeepers attended classes offered by the Indiana Beekeepers Association to prepare for this new endeavour. In mid-March 2015, the supers were sent with our bee breeeder who will return them in early June 2015.
While both hives thrived this year and each carried over 100 pounds of honey into the late fall, the true measure of our success will come early this spring; overwintering honey bees in this climate is a tremendous challenge, and many local hives will not survive the winter. To help their odds, all excess honey stores over 80 pounds were removed and will be returned to them for early spring food resources.
2016 has seen new additions to the apiary. With Gary’s help, the “Corral” was lengthened by 12 feet, and 4 new hives (“Mary”, “Martha”, "Ruth", and "Rachel") were placed near the existing hives. A fifth hive, "Eve" appeared as a result of a natural split, most likely from the "Cate" hive. In support of our new tenants, we planted 70 pounds of Ladino, White Dutch and Crimson clover in the field. Hopefully this addition will provide a food source for years to come and add color to the north side of the church property.
Thermal image of hives taken February 2016. The lighter the color the higher the temperature and the white is where the bees are,
The latest images of the hives:
Our apriary is considered to be a teaching apiary in that we regularly invite groups to St. Peter's to see the bees at work. We have built a corral around the hives at a height of 6 feet which allows you to walk up to the hives and look at the bees. The bees have a natural instinct to fly out of the hive, straight up and over the fence and will maintain a flight height of at least 6 feet until they reach their food source.
We have fifteen suits and hoods for those wishing to wear some protection while touring the hives or if they want to go inside the corral. Tours can be scheduled for schools, 4-H groups, scout groups, or adults interested in learning more about beekeeping. Please contact the parish office for more information.
Our Senior Beekeeper, Chuck Dailey, also is the Education Chair for the Indiana Beekeepers Association and regularly gives talks across the state on beekeeping. For the last two years, St. Peter's has presented talks at the Indiana State Fair.