Mar. 24th, 2012

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[personal profile] doodlemaier
Conservation hives are places in the northwest corner of the yard behind an existing fence which serves as a windbreak. Lada, the hive pictures on the left is unoccupied.I've gotta make this quick because I've been trying to get around to an update for weeks! We've divested of the U.S. housing boondoggle and are in a rented 3 bedroom house in Strasburg, Virginia 10 miles west and over the Massanutten mountain. The move has been arduous and is still not entirely complete, but the good news - and this is what I've been holding off to report - is that Brigid has survived our very mild winter, where the top bar, then Isis, and finally Lada all succumbed. Moving the conservation hive wasn't nearly as difficult as I had anticipated. Although a two-man job, it took more time to figure out the ratcheting tie straps used to secure the roof, supers and base together with a couple of makeshift handles than it did to hoist the whole caboodle into the back of Pop's pickup truck, secure it and drive it over the mountain.

Now we're far into a early bee season here in the NSV with the quince, forsythia, Bradford pear, cherry, red buds and apple trees blooming thickly. Brigid has a beard of bees that are as thick now as the picture I posted back in June and has built up entirely more quickly that I ever anticipated, but then I need to consider also that I am for the first time in my life and after three years of trying a second year beekeeper!

There's a lot of other developments that have started happening since the move as well that I don't have the time now to elaborate on but one I'd like to touch on is that last week while organizing lumber for new hives I came across the bait boxes that I built and employed unsuccessfully (late) last season. I set one of those outside on my father's stone wall, still with the same old comb and lemongrass lure in it, as a reminder to make some time to mount it in a tree somewhere. The very next day got a picture from Pops in my email of multiple scouts congregating around the entrance. Observation over the following days has been inconclusive but it looks like I might just have a colony or two developing the box as a potential nest site! This is exciting to me beyond words. I'd love the opportunity to test the efficacy of my bait box design and this might be my chance and nothing's better than expanding the apiary using free local bees.

Nonetheless, the pragmatic and faithless part of me broke down and ordered three more packages of Russian bees from Kelley's on Saturday which are scheduled for May 12th delivery. I suspect that the flow this year and in this area will be pretty much over by then so this will really test the conservation hives and the ability of the Russian strain and their purported thriftiness when it comes to stores. I wouldn't mind, for once, having more bees than I know what to do with rather than fewer.

upcoming:

• Updated and (maybe even) improved hive designs

• Honeybees of Adama Farms of Winchester

• Local honeybees and local wood

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