As some of you may have seen on Facebook, the Starks Lab “bee huts” got a serious facelift this summer. During the first week of the Tufts University Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program, we were landscapers, painters, and carpenters—and it was a blast!
Although I am a field biologist, I can honestly say that I have never been as dirty as I was on that first day of pulling up plants, picking up litter, and weed whacking. The dirt was worth it—every time I go to our huts, I cannot help but smile at the vibrant, happy colors. The bees are happy too! We are so excited to show off our new field site (and our bees) to the bikers at this year’s Boston Area Beekeepers Association Tour de Hives on Sunday, June 26.
Photo from Tour de Hives 2014, courtesy of Lee Toma.
If you haven’t heard of it, the Tour de Hives is the Boston Area Beekeepers Association’s flagship event—we start planning in January! We solicit volunteer beekeepers to show off their hives and give a short presentation about an aspect of honey bees and/or beekeeping. Once we have enough volunteers, we (guided by our fearless leader, Lydia Glenn) put together a bike route connecting the sites. Tour de Hives participants get to learn about bees and tour the Boston Area on their bike—what more could one ask for?
The event finishes at a bring-your-own picnic lunch where participants and volunteers alike meet with other local bikers, beekeepers, and bee-enthusiasts. Each year, we try to have the tour in a different neighborhood/suburb of Boston (since we’re the Boston Area Beekeepers).
This year’s tour is particularly special—our sites are some of the most diverse we’ve seen yet! In total, there are six sites (for time- and safety-sake, each group can only visit three sites) and two of those sites are right here at Tufts! In addition to visiting our newly renovated bee huts and my observation hives, bikers may also visit Kelsey Graham’s field site (she got her bumbles yesterday!) to learn about how native pollinators (bumble bees) could be affected by invasive pollinators (wool carder bees).
Other sites include a first-year beekeeper, a seasoned beekeeper, a Flow Hive, and Groundwork Somerville’s South Street Farm. Don’t want to miss out on the educational fun? Register online (spots will fill up so register SOON)! Hope to see you there!
Photo from Tour de Hives 2015, courtesy of Shutter in a Compass Studios.