News From the Hive: Building for the Bees
Without pollinators, the world as we know it would end. And without plants, the bees can’t do their very important job. So, The Culinary Institute of America’s Applied Food Studies Project Class, led by Dr. Maureen Costura, has decided to raise a colony of bees by creating an apiary complete with a garden for food and pollen, as well as a safe home for them and other types of pollinators.
There is a small space on campus that is fenced off and dedicated to the apiary garden. Raised planter boxes will be created by my class members out of wood or paving stones. They will be made in different sizes, shapes, and depths to provide the perfect growing conditions for flowers, veggies, fruits, herbs, and possibly even mushrooms—which are good for soil health! The boxes we build will be installed in early February if the weather allows.
As a class, we have decided to make the Apiary garden a place for all pollinators that will coexist with the bees and help them! With that in mind, the class before us had built a “pollinator hotel” to give other pollinators like solitary bees, hummingbirds, insects, and butterflies a safe place to live. The pollinator hotel will provide safe places for them to rest and feed, as well as room for hummingbirds to nest. Bats are a wonderful species to have around as they eat insects in the area, spread seeds, and produce guano—a great natural fertilizer. Think of it this way, bats are natures best pesticide.
Homes for hummingbirds and bats will be crafted and hung on the posts surrounding the apiary garden. Butterfly bushes and milkweed will be planted as well to feed monarch and other butterflies in the area.
Some plants that we have selected to grow for the bees include snapdragons, sunflowers, lavender, clematis, poppies, marigolds, evening primrose, and honeysuckle.
Herbs will also be welcome…including sage, dill, mint, clover, verbena, and thyme.
Vegetables like fennel and mushrooms and fruit like raspberries and blueberries will make an appearance in the planter boxes.
Stay tuned to News from the Hive for exciting updates about our apiary!
By Emma Bukovsky