BEEKEEPING IN THE NORTHEAST - An account of my beekeeping, not a treatise of expertise, but for friends & family who wish to keep bees vicariously through me, and for the occasional apiarist passer-by.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

15 F and climbing - Are They Still There?

It has been rediculously cold and windy.....remarkable stark and cold; and then there is the cold...and dry, dry, suck-all-the-moisture-out-of-you dry cold.

I heard that my friend, who has kept bees in the past, went by my hives to take a listen with her stethoscope...she's a nurse. I finally decided with the warm up predicted for tomarrow I better take the opportunity to do a better clean up job of the bottom boards on Ferncroft Road.

I removed the mouseguards and this time got the intrance reducer wedged out of the stream side hive. I also had a proper tool, a thin long stick, to reach in, all the way back, and pull out the bees in their final resting place on the screened bottom board. This was advised in something I read a long time ago, maybe Bonney's book "Hive Maintenance" in an effort to help with circulation and clear the way for bees hoping to take a cleansing flight, weather permitting.

to my joy, both hives were all a buzz. The HIVES ARE ALIVE!!!!!!!!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Cold Snap

-8F and -2 day and night for several days now! We do not believe we have seen such low temps during the day in our twelve years here.

All the bees, three hives, were bustling in 43F weather Sunday before last....Will they make it?

The wind! Wicked wind! I feel like we are living on the Alaskan frozen tundra!

PORTLAND, MAINE - Jan 25, 2013 Class at The Honey Exchange:
"Bee Friendly Landscapes using Permaculture Principles and Design" with David Homa - He is a homesteader and Landscape Architect, and is building a teaching apiary on his land. They are in the same zone as us, 4b, and shady too with trees. They grow thyme all around and under and through their apiary as part of a multi-part effort to discourage mites without treating. He provided a list of good bee plants and said they start seedlings inside and just keep planting all season long to keep the blooms coming. Most all the plants he mentioned grow wild in our yard but a few are of interest like the thyme. He is not too concerned about invasive species, although he encourages responsible management of any of the plants you bring in to maintain a good balance. Comfrey is a favorite ground cover I am not familiar with but we have always tried to keep our garden as native as possible. A long drive to Portland and there is an intermediate class being held by a good beekeeper I've heard about but it would mean a 3 hour or more round trip at night five weeks in a row in Spring.