Since being purchased by new owners Joe Phillips and Jan Broulik in 2014, the Causey Mansion Bed & Breakfast has undergone several significant changes. Every inch of the grounds has been groomed as the owners welcome guests to experience a peaceful stay where nature plays a role in the relaxation. In love with the flowers and plants that cover the property, Phillips decided last year to introduce bees to the small ecosystem, in an effort to create a safe environment for the pollinators that have made headline news regarding their decline.
“We need the bees and the bees need us,” said Phillips. “I enjoy planting for the bees and seeing how robust they are. It is amazing to see how much they are connected with us. If there were no bees, we would not have coffee, strawberries, citrus fruit and a lot of other foods we take for granted.”
Since he purchased the first hive for the Causey Mansion Bed & Breakfast last year, Phillips has been fascinated with the way that bee colonies function. The entire hive strives to keep the colony alive through generations although each worker bee lives only around 40 days. The collective instinct to work for the good of the hive allows the colony to support hundreds of thousands of bees by using its natural surroundings for support. Each bee has a job and each job has a purpose that can provide the colony overall health and longevity.
This week, Phillips and his mentor Kate David, member of the Delaware Beekeepers Association, split the original hive to produce two. The pair extracted the queen from the first hive and placed her into the new hive, where bees from the colony followed her lead. A queen will be selected in the original hive from queen larva, which are fed royal jelly in order to increase their size. This queen will carry on the legacy of the original hive as the extracted queen will begin a new hive.
Bees can travel from two to seven miles from their hive looking for plants and flowers to gather pollen to bring back for harvesting. For Phillips, this fact means that individuals without hives can advocate for the bees in several different ways. “You do not have to own a hive to be an advocate for the bees,” he said. “You can plant flowers, perennials, fruit trees and place a bird bath in your yard so they can get water. It is also helpful to avoid using pesticides that are not made from natural substances.”
Advocacy also starts with how people react to bees when they are found on their property. If individuals see bees in their trees or on their house, they are encouraged to call the Delaware Beekeepers Association for help. The Association provides volunteer beekeepers that will collect swarms as the colony attempts to find a new home. A list of qualified beekeepers can be found at http://www.delawarebeekeepers.com/services.html.