You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2011.
NBC sent a camera crew over to get some footage of the dedication event and ran this spot later that day.
I had the honor of being on Up to Date with Steve Kraske on KCUR (the Kansas City NPR affiliate station). Very fun!
Scroll to minute 42 to listen to my segment of the podcast:
Monday June 7 marks the first installation of this sculpture series. It was 97 degrees and sunny and the bees weren’t happy waiting in my truck (I had the air conditioner running) but now they are finally settled at their new site. They have the city’s best view of the new Kauffman Performing Arts Center. Feel free to stop by and visit anytime.
It was a hot day and at first I resisted wearing my suit but the bees were a little upset after being cooped up in their hive and driven across town. Better safe than sorry, especially at this height.
Time to let the bees out.
I’m installing radiant insulation material to fill the air gap between the Corian exterior and wood interior. Hopefully this will allow the hive to be placed in any climate. This location will be a great test since the hive is on a hilltop with no shade and is exposed to the blazing summer sun and winter wind.
I am bolting the hive to the post’s steel platform.
Today I had the good fortune of meeting Rich Wieske and Joan Mandell (on the right). They were honored guests at this year’s annual Northeastern Kansas Beekeepers Association “Funday” event in Lawrence Kansas. Rich and Joan are partners in Green Toe Gardens, which is a community-based apiary in Michigan. Today they keep around 100 hives in Detroit and its northern suburbs. Joan is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and journalist and is currently producing the film “Wild Detroit Honey.” Local beekeeping legend and good friend Robert Burns (center) showed them around Kansas City and brought them by to see my recently finished hive sculpture. I loved hearing about some of the great grassroots community work they are doing back in Detroit, including keeping an apiary of almost every different style of beehive I have heard of in a special high school’s urban farm.
Now that the hive is done my friend Brad Nicholson comes over to help transfer the bees from their temporary hive to the new one. The swarm I caught has only been in there for a month but has already filled the frames I gave them as well as the rest of the empty space.
Brad ties on extra piece of comb to an edge of the frame that has some free space. Later the bees will secure this with wax and remove the string themselves.
I built the frames at a diagonal after noticing that the bees often build in this way when they don’t have any frames to guide them. There may be an advantage to having the largest comb right in the middle (especially in the winter when they need to form a cluster to keep warm).
The bees are in their new home and ready for installation on the post. I have noticed that now that the weather is hot the bees are perched on their font porch fanning the fresh air through their hive. I held a thin piece of tissue paper near the bottom hole and could see it blowing away from the entrance and when I held it near the upper hole the draft sucked it it. The double entrance seems to work well for circulating fresh air through the hive. This should enable them to keep the hive cool in the summer as well as to keep the humidity they generate in the winter from building up and condensing inside the hive, causing moisture problems.
To increase ventilation I decide to add a bottom entrance. Here I am using a router and jig to cut this from the inner wood wall. I am using wood for the interior because it will not cause as much condensation to form in the warm humid environment of the hive. Good ventilation and nice dry wood will make a bee friendly environment.
For extra insulation, in addition to the air gap, I include a layer made of reflective foil.
Perched by this driveway, this swarm waits while its scout bees look for a new place to live.
Somewhere in the area is a robust colony of bees that outgrew their home and sent their queen and half of the colony packing. Leaving behind some queen cells ready to hatch and enough worker bees to carry on, this group of bees hope to find a nice hollow tree or other cavity somewhere and start anew.
After collecting the swarm in my box I will take them home and put them in a conventional hive fitted out with my custom frames. They will wait and grow here while I finish building their new home and ultimately install them at the 18Broadway Garden.