The Nor’easter lasted over 24 hours. It began Monday afternoon and finally let up on Wednesday morning. After 60 mph wind gusts with white out conditions, we were able to finally get outside to assess the damage. We all had cabin fever at that point and wanted to make sure that everyone weathered the storm. First up was the chicken coop. I started up the snowblower and began to clear a path. We shoveled out the smaller path to the coop.
Earlier this week I accompanied the kids on a school field trip to the Museum of Science in Boston. We reached a point where a woman was giving a demonstration on electricity and electromagnetic currents. One by one as each of the kids in my group took turns placing their hands upon this large metal sphere and watching their hairs stand on end, I could not help but notice an exhibit just inches away from where I was standing.
|The honeybees cluster in a ball for warmth in the winter. The queen is in the very center, kept toasty at 95 degrees. The cluster expands and moves during warmer days and contracts tightly and stays put in freezing temps.|
Last week it was a balmy day in December, 50 degrees. Weird for us, but the bees were happy and flying outside the hive. They were taking cleansing flights and exploring a bit around the yard. I found a few perched on the birdbath taking in a bit of water. It was the perfect day to go in and check on their sugar supplies that I had added to the hive only a couple of months ago. I was curious what the winter honeybee cluster would look like.
Happy December first. Today is an unusually beautiful sunny day in the sixties here on Cape Cod. Last week we had some cooler temperatures in the lower forties and high thirties but today is a very good bee day. The honeybees were so happy to have the sun warm their hives. In fact, the activity was bustling by the hives this morning. I took a moment to take a quick video to share.
About a couple of week’s ago, one of my hives had practically succumb to a complete death. A day or so after I witnessed that, I began the rebuilding by adding a few frames of brood from another hive and two frame of honey. This past week, we combined an early summer nuc that we made with this weak hive with the hopes of a strong hive that will survive the winter. There a variety of reasons why folks combine beehives.
|Burning frames filled with wax moth eggs and larvae.|
I watched one of my beehives die this past Thursday. Wax moths moved into the hive.
Someone must have sprayed their blooming plants. The plants were full of blossoms and my unsuspecting bees went. They drank the nectar and shared the bounty and location with the rest of the hive. There I sat in front of it, watching dying bees literally fall out. I sat there until dusk. Hundreds were dead. Some barely still alive in the pile outside the hive. There was nothing I could do but sit there and pray for them to be out of their misery quickly. I am hoping that none of the other hives went to that location. In nursing, I’ve seen many terrible things that have left a mark on my memory and heart that I can never forget even if I wanted to. Thursday, was another one of those days.
This past weekend a friend and I got together to harvest honey from the summer. Despite keeping bees for three years this was the first harvest that was large enough to need an extractor. Many factors come into honey production by the bees including weather, hive health, hive size, breed of bee, supply of blooms, and honey bee pests. This year we were lucky after three seasons of keeping bees!
As a beekeeper, I am fascinated by so many bees and wasps that visit our gardens and help to pollinate our plants. Yet, sometimes, I find that folks often confuse honeybees with bumblebees. Both are simply adorable in my opinion but very different. At first, to many outsiders, a bee is just a bee. That would be like me saying a dog is just a dog. But in fact, there are many different breeds.