Our farm is beginning to come out of its winter slumber. The first flowers have emerged, the leaves are beginning to unravel on the trees and we are seeing more animal activity. Deer, Turkey, Bears and Coyotes are all on the move and beginning to forage. Spring is in the air and Scat is everywhere! A quick look at the Lavender showed that most plants survived the winter and are beginning to grow.
The most notable activity right now is with the Bees. We lost one hive to the cold. Nothing but dead bees on the floor of the hive. The other “Absconded”. This is where they just pick up, clean out, and leave. Typically it is associated with a disease in the hive, but I can find no evidence of mites or any of the other common diseases (Verroa Mites, Tracheal Mites, Small Hive Beetles, Wax Moths, foulbrood or Nosema). The frames were picked clean, no brood, no honey, no nothing. If they were renters, I’d have given their deposit back. Maybe it got too cold and they flew to Boca Raton. I simply don’t know.
We won’t be replacing them this year, but will begin working on the Bee Yard. While we haven’t had any Bear activity near the hives, sooner or later their paths will cross. I will be clearing an area for the Bee Yard (approximately 30 X 60), putting 4X4 posts around the perimeter, and then putting up solar electric fencing in order to discourage the black Ursus. It is an effort and expenditure I think we need to make in order to protect the Apiary. I will write separately about this effort and the challenges I encounter.
We do have one very active hive left that we re-queened last year. They were hunting and gathering and stepping and fetching when I last looked at them. These are the “Barrel Bees”, so known because their hive sits on top of a 55 gallon drum. They will remain on their lofty perch until the new Bee Yard is completed and I move them to their permanent location. Not sure if I am going to use a post and platform design or something else. I will research it and let you know (I am not much enthralled by store bought stands).
In a week or so, I will write a new addendum to life on our farm…..
Derek & Allison
Elf Leaf Farm