March 10, 2014 at 10:20 PM
CHATHAM, NJ - It might be a shocking experience for the bears looking for honey, but the new Chatham Community Bee Club is ready to protect its bee hive.
Mayor Bruce Harris' idea to start a bee club and locate it on River Road is coming to fruition, according to the update presented at the Borough of Chatham Council meeting on Monday night.
Beekeeper Albert Tomaro talks about the Chatham Community Bee Club in video below
Beekeeper Albert Tomaro, a resident of Chatham, will set up the club members with the first hive. Part of the plan is to construct a bear fence to protect the bees from the honey seekers.
"It's going to be a solar-powered electrical fence," Tomaro said. "A bear could easily break through this fence. You actually want them to bite onto the fence so they get shocked. The bears then decide not to come back here again because they know they'll get shocked."
Tomaro explained that bees are dying off and how important a role they play in our food supply.
"A lot of the bees are dying off because of diseases and loss of habitat," Tomaro said. "One third of the food that you eat is pollinated by European honey bees. Without these bees, the food supply would be that much less."
A package of 3,000 bees will be arriving from Georgia on April 11 and that will be enough to supply one hive.
"One hive can have up to 50,000 bees in it," Tomaro said. "The queen will start laying eggs and she'll get up to 2,000 eggs per day. We'll have one hive to start off and then eventually grow that to 10 hives or larger."
Bees from this hive will travel as far as five miles away, bringing back pollen and nectar to make honey.
"We chose the Italian bee because in the springtime they build up very quickly," Tomaro said. "Since we have a short winidow, the Italian breed will build quicker for us than the other European breeds."