Saturday, 30 June 2012

Mountain Coffee

There's nothing like Jamaican mountain coffee after a crazy morning at the Kingston market!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Beez in the Trap

Prior to my arrival in Jamaica, Iver, another intern, and Kwao, my host father, built and hung seven trap hives. We checked them about a week later and three of them had bees! Whether the hives have a queen is unknown, the bees might just have been hanging out there for a bit before returning home. But hopefully when we go to take them down there will be bees everywhere!
We also built two more trap hives using bamboo for the sides. It was a lot more difficult than using wood, but the bamboo was free, scavenged from a forest not too far away.

Me and Kwao cutting the sides

Me and Iver assembling the trap hive

Beautiful bamboo siding--how can the bees not want to live here?

Once the hives were built we painted the inside with lemongrass tea (to attract the bees) and hung them up near an exposed hive someone in town knew about. The exposed hive is ridiculous--it is just a colony of bees building their comb off a tree branch!--but it has allegedly been swarming a couple of times a year so we're hoping for our traps to pick up one of the swarms.

Totally exposed!

Once Tom, our bee expert, arrives our biggest challenge will be getting enough bees for everyone who wants to participate in the workshop, so the more beez in the traps, the better!

Currently Reading...

The Barefoot Beekeeper by P.J. Chandler
A simple guide to sustainable top-bar beekeeping for the amateur, The Barefoot Beekeeper is for those “who love bees and understand and appreciate their vial role in the pollination of a huge range of both wild and cultivated plants.” P. J. Chandler certainly loves his bees. He admits right away that he is not a bee expert, he simply loves bees and wants all the best for them. The Barefoot Beekeeper demonstrates a beekeeping philosophy and practice where honey production and profit are last on the agenda and the welfare of the bees are the top priority. If you want to get into sustinable beekeeping or want to change your beekeeping practices, this book is a great starting point. Although production is not the ultimate goal, if you care for your bees and really love your bees, they will give you ample rewards.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Beekeeping in Jamaica

This is a blog to document my work with bees this summer and my overall experiences living in Jamaica!

A little background: I am a rising junior at Pomona College majoring in Environmental Analysis with an Economics concentration. This summer, I decided to spend two months on a farm in Jamaica learning everything I could about bees. My beekeeping intership is hosted by the Adams family at Yerba Buena Farms. Our goal is to do everything in an environmentally and economically sustainable way. For us this means gathering what materials we can, using the nontraditional top bar beekeeping method (more on this to come), and keeping the bees' health and happiness our number one priority. A beekeeping expert, Tom, is coming for all of July to do workshops with us and other locals interested in having their own bees. Until then we are preparing in every way possible for his arrival.