Land of the LOST, or, A Visit to the Virginia Tech Apiary

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

We went to the VA Tech apiary on Sunday. We had our final beekeeping class for most of the day Saturday, but it was too cold to open up hives (sleeting, snowing, high in the 40's), so they rescheduled for Sunday afternoon - which wound up being perfect and gorgeous, around 70+ degrees (welcome to Blacksburg!).

We spent Sunday morning staining our brand-new hives here at home (pics later) and then rushed to get to the apiary by 2pm. We actually arrived a bit early and so were able to poke around a bit before everyone arrived. I seriously wondered if we'd entered another dimension. I should probably note that the VA Tech Apiary is actually at a location referred to as the "Virginia Tech Research Center."

We compared it to LOST's Dharma initiative, and we were at the previously undiscovered "Hive" Station. It was as if we'd fallen off the map into someplace where reality was still reality, just with a slightly odd bent to it... I can't really explain it, I just have to show you - even then, maybe you had to be there.

Overview shot:
A little bit of some awesome art we stumbled upon between the warehouses (which I want for my yard):
Large freestanding fireplace with dome at the top of the chimney that is *just* cut off in this pic:

Stairway to... a seating area?

The apiary itself was one of the coolest things ever. Our experience there observing and handling the frames really instilled a much greater sense of confidence for us going into beekeeping. I think there were 30 apiary (apiaries?) set up there, and maybe more. We got to open up, look inside, and handle and learn about the frames of activity within 4-5 of them. After a while (after we'd opened up multiple hives), the bees were flying everywhere - they were so very docile (landing on people at most, never attacking) and it was so interesting to see all of the bees (drones, queens, workers, oh my!) and the different things they do inside the hive.

I'm scared to death (of killing them or being a bad beekeeper), but I can't wait to get our bees in the next week or so!!!


Brent said...

Looks like a lot of fun. I am picking up 7 Nucleus hives on Saturday to take back for me and some friends around home.

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