The 20th Street apiary continues to thrive this spring within the two original golden hives that were placed on the rooftops of flour + water and central kitchen in 2011 and 2012 respectively. Happy, healthy bees seem to be the rule rather than the exception when they are domesticated in golden hives. My experience with other hive designs has been less universally positive, with one glaring exception: honey production. The golden hive, so named for the dimensions of the hive box conforming to the golden ratio, is not designed for honey production as its primary function. It’s purpose is more sanctuary than stable. Golden hive keepers perceive their tenants to be charges more than livestock. Other hive designs, like the commonplace Langstroth, allow the beekeeper to stack boxes up to encourage the bees to store more honey. I pulled nearly 100 lbs. of honey from a single Langstroth hive in one year. The most I’ve seen harvested from a golden is eight lbs. The reasons for the difference are complex, but relate to the bees tendency to store honey above their brood nest. Once a layer of food stores (pollen and nectar) is established above the brood nest, the bees only put more nectar above that layer. So, if hive boxes are added above this layer, the bees fill it, first with comb, then with nectar, which they eventually convert into honey.
Central Kitchen has been providing sanctuary for bees on its roof for three years. 2015 was the year honey production was added to the purpose of the apiary. We added a Langstroth hive on April 19, beginning production of hyper-local food.
Pictured here a Jase and Emeri who helped out with the new installation. We also took a peek inside the golden hive nuc and found this irresistible honey spilling from the broken seal on top. The new Langstroth is seen above with a frame of bees being inspected.
Big thanks to Chandler for the great camera work!
Blog Post by Scott Mattoon.