By Laura Maigatter
The Damage Report
Let me tell you a tale of an innocent Beepod in a clearing in the woods, set upon by vandals in the night. Also known as, the serious vandalism of the Currie Park Golf Course Beepod.
As many of you know, people often have a fear of the gentle honeybee. This fear can lead unwise people to commit acts of pure stupidity, such as attacking the thing they are afraid of in the middle of a rainy night. Fear could make you tear the lid off the home of the thing you fear, smash their food and expect that the rain would prevent them from acting in defense of their hive. The trail of debris left in the wake of the fleeing vandals tells a different story, one that likely ended with a few well placed stings and hopefully a serious reflection of one’s life choices. This is the chain of events we can only assume occurred the night the Beepod was vandalized, as the identities of the perpetrators are likely to remain unknown.
Matt Sullivan, the on-site beekeeper at Currie Park, came upon the damaged hive making his usual rounds on the golf course. The Milwaukee Parks Bee Crew acted fast, securing a temporary wood cover to the Beepod to offer the bees some protection from the elements. They collected the pieces of the disassembled lid and any honey they could salvage from the ground, and made a call to us.
We arrived the next morning to bring a new lid and assess the condition of the bees. The story was sad, the queen and her colony had survived, but the extensive winter stores they had saved up were almost completely lost. They were wet, cold, and a little worse for the wear. The loss of the winter stores would have been devastating to the bees, losing not only their food but their ability to maintain warmth throughout our long winter. Thankfully, they are not alone.
Community Supported Apiary to the Rescue
We put the word out to our community of Beepod owners and had commitments to donate bars of honey within hours. One of my favorite things about the Beepod system is how compatible all the hives are. Making a honey donation drive not only feasible but executable with ease. Thankfully, we had another week of perfect weather to dry out the hive and inspire feeding behaviour in the bees. They are stocked up with syrup, bars of honey and all the scraps of honey we could salvage from the trail the vandals left behind. The bees are working hard to get their hive back in shape for winter, and we are right there with them.
Beepods has strived to create a community of like minded people dedicated to the welfare of our city-wide apiary. We call this a Community Supported Apiary, and it was heartwarming to see it in action. Not only did the greater Milwaukee community reach out to Currie Park to offer donations and a helping hand, our fellow Beepod owners donated bars of honey they thought their hives could spare, most notably Braise Restaurant and University School of Wisconsin. Beepods donated honey from our Apiary and the Bee Crew at Dretzka Golf donated bars as well. Coming together to keep our bee population strong is one of the driving forces behind Beepods, and one of the reasons I am so thankful to be a part of this community. Bee The Change!