Moon River Brewing Company will host a fundraiser to aid local bees Wednesday, April 12. The company will donate $1 to the Coastal Empire Beekeeping Association for every Moon River beer sold from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
CEBA will use funds raised to build a trickle-down water wall in the Oatland Island Wildlife Center’s bee yard. This fixture will provide the essential drinking water needed for honey bees to cool their hive and mix with collected pollen and nectar to produce food for growing larvae. As summer approaches and temperatures increase, a cool water source is imperative for survival.
A single colony typically requires up to a quart of water every day. With the CEBA bee yard expanding from four to 12 colonies by May, the bees will demand three gallons of water per day. Establishing a water source close to the hives will also let the bees spend less time foraging and more time feeding their queen or making honey.
Kristine Stevens Beeco, a new local beekeeper and SCAD alumna, never feared bees growing up. She first tried beekeeping at a relative’s in Iowa when she was in high school. Now, Beeco is committed to saving local bees. With help from the beekeeping community including CEBA’s president Greg Stewart, Beeco has already successfully introduced bees to her boxes. “I love learning about this stuff,” Beeco explained.
There is actually a lot to learn about making honey, and the importance of water is only one of the many factors that impact a bee’s ability to produce. The way a bee box is built directly impacts whether the bees will be willing to move in. From the color of the box (red appears black and will not attract bees), to the way the cinder blocks underneath are situated (certain positioning will stop intrusive ants), many factors can impact a hive’s success.
Moon River’s interest in honey and the bees themselves makes sense considering the brewery serves beer that uses honey either to dry the body of the beer or provide post-brewing sweetness like in the Ogeechee Riverkeeper Pale Ale. However, this beer slinging company has a long history of environmental fundraisers because the owners believe giving back is important. By doing it through improving Savannah’s environment, it helps everyone.
CEBA would also like to build an octagon building at Oatland Island that allows guests to observe bees without disturbing their production or habits. A path leading up to the water wall with benches is also a goal, but the association is focusing on the first step, the water wall.