Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spring is not coming early

Expecting measurable snow tomorrow night. No one is happy.

What I said about the results of the disappearance of the honeybee from the New World? It would be less grave if the bumblebee and other native pollinators were not also disappearing. I read a delightful book that I recommend getting from your library, unless your library system has been gutted, as that of New Hampshire is about to be (one truck to serve all the libraries in the state is enough, of course it is. Spot of bother in the state budgeting process).

I am contemplating putting down a deposit on a second New England-bred nuc, this one from New Hampshire, only the cashflow is not helping and the person who breeds them medicates and clips his queens' wings. I don't know that Mr. Merriam doesn't, but he seems to be closer to the earth, in that he doesn't advertise anything or have a website. Those are not really a recommendation, but they keep me from knowing his bias and I can dream. I would like to have two hives, just so as to have something to compare with. And I want to build a top-bar hive and see if it works, only really, one must get bees somewhere.

No one in New England seems to be very sanguine about 8-frame medium hives (they think it's just too cold). So Mr. Merriam is building me a 10-frame deep for the brood chamber and he says I'll manage beautifully with the supers. I am hoping to go pick it up on Monday, and to start seriously worrying about putting in the electric fencing. Doug and I had about settled on the far end of the flowerbed-area near the pad of the burned-down garage (see this link for explanations of Doug, Deb, and the former garage which I never met), sheltered and perhaps warmed by the stone retaining wall. I realized that bears could jump into the proposed bee-yard from the slope retained, so we are now thinking farther from the retaining wall. The area under discussion still has discards from the kitchen renovation, because my ex-contractor Paul is a... well. Anyway.

Meanwhile, all five of Neil Gaiman's hives in Minnesota died out, probably during their really really cold spell in December, and the local bees-and-bunnies place I was going to visit tells me both their hives made it through most of the winter and died off in early March. Deb and I think it sounded like tracheal mites.

Sometimes I am more optimistic than other times. The sunlight does help.

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