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Honey Bees at TPCC

April 25, 2019

Last year, I installed a bee hive on the property here at TPCC as yet another way to promote our environmental stewardship in the community.  See, many people tend to think that golf courses are bad actors and simply pollute the environment and deplete habitats to replace them with our highly manicured turf.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  Often times, the golf course is one of the few safe havens for wildlife in the area.  As we learn more about the programs available to promote greater biodiversity such as Operation Pollinator and Monarchs in the Rough, it only made sense to install a hive.  Plus, similar to the maple syrup, the goal is to harvest enough honey to supply Chef Jay to create a featured item using honey from our very own bees!

Last year’s colony hard at work. 

Our hive was located on the left side of #14 green, back under some trees.  With Chef Jay’s advice (who is quite the beekeeper), they went into the winter with a hive full of honey and brood.  Unfortunately, after a long winter the bees woke up a little too early when we had the warm spell in early February.  With no pollen/nectar available from the dormant plants, they quickly depleted the remainder of their honey and the colony failed.  This was a great learning experience for me, as a beekeeper, as I now know that supplemental feeding during the more difficult times is vital to ensuring the colony’s survival.

Hive cleaned and ready for some new bees.

We took advantage of this opportunity to relocate the hive to a better location where it can receive full sun and get plenty of air movement.  It is now tucked up on the hillside to the left of #18 next to the site of the planned herb garden, giving the bees plenty of opportunity to forage and help pollinate the plants in the surrounding area.  With the hive moved, the final step was to get more bees and introduce them to their new home.

Chef showing me how to install a package of bees.

Since my hive was already set up with comb leftover from the other colony, we decided that a bee package would be the best and most cost-effective option to install more bees.  Chef Jay’s beekeeping friend quickly put a package together and we installed them on April 9th.  The new bees quickly got to work and as of April 22nd, they are well on their way to a successful year.  As you can see in the pictures, they are really easy to handle, and minimal protection was necessary.

As long as you are careful when you work (and comfortable working with them), minimal protective gear is necessary.  Bee careful!

This year, I’ve decided to double down and expand to a 2nd hive. I’ve sourced a complete hive filled with bees from www.schoolhousebees.com in Northern Kentucky.  This hive will be ready to pick up at the end of the month and will be added to the original colony.  I am hopeful that we will be able to harvest at least some honey this year and you’ll be able to see it on our menu later this year.

New hive already settled in.

So, the next time you are out on the course, take a look behind the paddle courts and you’ll see TPCC’s very own bees hard at work.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

See you at the club,

Scott LesChander
Grounds Superintendent

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