Since its opening in 1922 the Morton Arboretum has housed its own bees upon realizing the important role they play in our eco system.
“They knew there were not a lot of wild bees out there so for several years they always had their own bees. As humans what we eat, more than a third of all our food requires honey bees,” said Head Beekeeper at the Morton Arboretum, Greg Fisher.
Budding plant life isn’t the only benefit the Arboretum gets from having bees on the property; their gift shop also houses a sweet treat straight from the hive.
“They are kind of getting two things, the benefits of the bees just being here and the benefit of the honey that they can sell in the shop,” said Fisher.
Extracting the honey from the hive is a process. Fisher smokes out the hive to calm the bees down.
“When the bees smell that they think the hive is on fire so they gorge themselves with honey and when you eat a lot you know you get a bit more dossal,” Fisher said.
Next, Fisher looks through the hives to see what honey is ready for the harvest.
“Once a cell is filled with honey, they seal it with wax and use it as food then we take the access and put it in jars,” Fisher said.
That’s not all he’s looking for when he opens up the hives, Fisher also regularly checks on the queen ensuring the hives can survive through winter.
“During the summer bees only live about three or four weeks. So that queen has to be constantly laying eggs so that by the end of summer there are enough bees to keep the hive going,” he said.
The Arboretum is currently home to nearly 60,000 bees in their 40 hives.
Naperville News 17’s Natalie Vitale reports.
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