I first met Dave Harrod at The Miquon School where his daughter Nina and my son Wynn were classmates. Neither one of us were beekeepers back then. We lost touch after the kids graduated from Miquon. It was a pleasant surprise to meet up with him several years later at one of The Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild meetings.
Wanting to get back to my Beekeepers series I messaged Dave asking if I could photograph him working at his apiary. He replied yes and said to meet him 10:00 am Saturday at The Saul School.
The Saul School is a magnet school that specializes in agricultural sciences and is located along Henry Avenue in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia. The school gives Dave a place to keep his bees and in return his bees pollinate Saul’s crops, flowers and fruit trees.
“Better Suit UP”
It was a hot and humid morning so I hoped to get away with not wearing my bee suit, it is possible at times. As I approached the hives Dave called out that I had better suit up. He said he was really disputing the hives and that they were in a bad mood. I heeded his advice.
Aside from the suit being hot it’s not easy peering through a viewfinder while wearing a veil. Nor is it easy changing camera settings wearing thick gloves. On the other hand it’s hard to take photographs while writhing in pain from multiple bee stings!
In an attempt to re-queen hives in the Guild’s apiary Dave had inserted Queen excluders into some of his hives. A queen excluder is a screen that restricts the queen’s travel to the boxes at the bottom of the hive. This causes the bees in the upper boxes to create a new queen that can later be moved to a queen-less hive.
While Dave’s day job is in finance he earned an MFA in Photography from University at Buffalo. At times our conversation veered away from beekeeping to cameras we have owned, darkroom techniques and the merits of film vs. digital. He offered to let be borrow his Kodak Master View 8×10 camera. I thinks its time to take him up on his offer!
Dave is the current president of Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild.