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Busy bees adapt to Lewes farm

Cape Gazette of Lewes, Delaware

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New local club will keep watch on two hives

It seems trite to use the phrase "busy as bees."

But to Lewes Beekeeping Club members who colonized their first hives last week, no other words fit. Within a few hours, the nearly 20,000 bees at Black Hog Farm along New Road were already making a honeycomb.

The club formed after members took a class at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Delaware in January and February from local bee experts Dean Hoover and Tom Lord.

Club members all chipped in money to purchase two hives and the bees, which were transported by mail from Kelley Beekeeping Co. in Clarkson, Ky, to Club President Denise Bridgens' Lewes home. She also painted and decorated the hives. Bridgens said she became fascinated by bees, and it wasn't hard to convince others to join with her.

Besides the thousands of female worker bees and a few male drones, the club has purchased two Russian queen bees because they are more adept at mite resistance and more tolerant of colder weather.

On May 11, club members met with Hoover and Lord to transfer the bees to their new homes. "They are only just getting started," Hoover said. "In a few weeks we will not be able to manipulate the bees like we are today."

Even without protective clothing, no one was stung. However, a few days later when Bridgens and Hoover met at the farm to check on the bees, they did look the part, wearing protective clothing.

Besides tending the hives, club members would like to eventually reach out and teach others about bees and the art of setting up a hive, Bridgens said, especially children.

Hoover has had a lifelong fascination with bees. He established a unique hive at his Cadbury at Lewes home where he moved with his wife Sharon in 2007. He constructed the hive in a second-floor window of the facility's library so visitors and residents get a close-up look at how bees go about their daily rituals.

Hoover retired to the area from the Finger Lakes region of New York where he and his wife were part-time farmers and university professors.

Featuring a wide variety of learning opportunities for adults 50 and over, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Lewes and Ocean View offers 10-week semesters in fall and spring, and a four-week June session every year. Classes are held at the Fred Thomas Building, 520 DuPont Ave., in Lewes and Ocean View Town Hall and Community Center in Ocean View.

For more information, call 302-645-4111 or go to The University of Delaware also sponsors Osher Lifelong Learning programs in Dover and Wilmington.

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Original Publication Date: May 27, 2016

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