Beekeeping at Princeton
This Category has no FAQ yet
This Category has no FAQ yet
Absolutely not! Many members, including several of the current administrators, had no prior beekeeping experience before becoming involved at Princeton. If you've never kept bees before, you might find it helpful to check out some of the introductory materials located in our "Files" page. If you're too busy to do that, don't worry about it--beekeeping is easy to learn on the fly.
We currently have two active hives in our bee yard. The yard is located across Carnegie Lake, next to West Windsor Fields. To get there from campus, walk straight down Washington Road and across the bridge over Carnegie Lake. Continue to head straight past the towpath, and then turn left in front of the fields. The bee yard will be midway up the path on your left. For a map, see the "Location" page in the "About Us" section.
Our schedule varies based on school events and breaks as well as the needs of our hives. During the fall and spring, we are leading weekly hive visits to our bee yard every Saturday from 2-4 pm. Check out our "Calendar" page for more information.
We are looking for people interested in being administrators of the BEE Team. Perks include advance sampling of event snacks, your picture and profile glorified on our website, and the chance to hang out with our already stellar group of admins. Send us an email if interested.
A typical hive contains about 35,000 bees during the summer. Approximately 40% of the bees live in the hive full-time.
Bees are largely self-sufficient. However, the beekeeper still has some responsibilities to the hive:
1) Make sure the hive isn't too large. If a bee colony outgrows its hive, it will swarm to find a new home. Beekeepers can prevent a swarm by splitting a large colony before it gets too big, and by periodically harvesting honey to ensure that the colony can't grow too large too quickly.
2) Make sure the hive has enough honey (especially in the winter). If the bees are going through a rough patch and are low on honey, the beekeeper may need to feed them sugar water to encourage them to stay in the hive and make it through to better times.
3) Check and treat hives for diseases. Beehives are susceptible to a number of different pests and viruses which may require medication.
4) Make sure that the hive has an active queen by checking for brood and larvae. If a hive is queenless, beekeepers may be able to save the colony by introducing a new queen.
5) Protect the hive from animals, weather, and invasively curious humans.
We have full protective suits, gloves, and veils in several sizes freely available for anyone involved with the BEE Team. If you are severely allergic, however, we do recommend that you bring an Epi-Pen or something similar with you as an extra precaution.
Bee suits are full-body, zippered suits that provide essentially complete protection to the wearer. Some people are most comfortable putting on the entire suit every time they enter the bee yard, and that's fine. Other people prefer wearing only a veil and gloves, only a veil, or no special protective equipment at all--many beekeepers work in shorts, a T-shirt, and their bare hands. We have plenty of protective clothing for everyone to use, but in the end the amount of gear you choose to use is up to you.
Honeybees sting relatively infrequently compared to wasps or yellow jackets, and you can protect yourself by using protective gear, a smoker, and conscientous beekeeping technique. That being said, when you work regularly with thousands of bees, chances are you'll get stung every now and then. Think of it as a love bite.