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Park Ranger Mark Matzkiw add a honey super to one of the bee hives.

It looks like it is going to be a sweet summer at Tims Ford State Park (TFSP). The park celebrated World Bee Day on May 20 – this time with their very own honeybees.

TFSP fundraised for months and also applied for grants to get their hives and are continuing to do so in pursuit of their own bee sanctuary. The first two hives arrived in early April.

After a few weeks of getting adjusted to their new home, the honeybees are beginning to make progress, according to park ranger Destiny Adcox.

“We added a honey super to one of the honeybee hives here at Tims Ford and took several photos while we were with our bees to show how much progress they have made,” Adcox said. “We checked on the full pollen baskets on the worker bee's legs. One of the photos we took shows a frame with honey and brood cells. Worker bees will emerge from these particular brood cells at the end of their metamorphosis. We also check the base lower super of the hive for queen cells.”

Supers are placed in hives with the intent to remove whatever honey the bees store in them above their brood nest area, trusting they have plenty of stored honey in the deep hive bodies for winter.

The pollen basket is part of the tibia on the hind legs of worker bees. They use the structure in harvesting pollen and carrying it to the nest or hive. A full pollen basket is what beekeepers want to see.

In beekeeping, bee brood refers to the eggs, larvae and pupae of honeybees. The rest of the brood frame cells may be empty or occupied by brood in various developmental stages. During the brood raising season, the bees may reuse the cells from which brood has emerged for additional brood or convert it to honey or pollen storage.

In the late winter and early spring as the brood cycle begins, the queen starts to lay eggs within the winter cluster in proximity to available honey stores. Honey bees tend to greatly expand the brood chamber as the season progresses. The relative location of the brood chamber within the beehive may also change as bee keepers add more boxes or as wild bees build fresh comb into available cavities.

Though some are still going through metamorphosis, Adcox says that there are some bees already producing honey. “We will be selling the local honey. We are not sure whether we will have it by this year or next,” she said.

Tennessee State Parks held a virtual 5K Facebook event from May 17-23 encouraging participants to run course on a treadmill or neighborhood sidewalk to encourage social distancing. A portion of the proceeds from the event went toward the Tennessee State Park Honey Project, which helps establish honey bee hives in state parks across Tennessee.

To support Tims Ford State Park's Honeybee Program, you can symbolically adopt a bee or a hive using the following link: www.bit.ly/2ZKUFDf.

Katelyn Lawson may be reached at klawson@tullahomanews.com.

Staff Writer

Katelyn Lawson is from Dumas, Arkansas. She graduated from The University of Arkansas at Monticello in 2018 with a bachelor's degree. She lives in Tullahoma with her husband Josh, their cat Georgia and two dogs Rizzo and Benny.

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