Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sweet day

Today I went apple picking with a bunch of my friends. I love having friends of all ages and still being included by my friends who have kids at home. We did find the amazing Spencer apple that I lust after every year. This year my expectations are low and my hopes high for some good treats. The apples were challenging to find and many were damaged.

And on a bee-note - many of the apples were not fully pollinated. When an apple gets fully pollinated it will be round and full. A partial pollination will result in an apple that is flat on one or more sides. Although we like to think of ourselves as outside of nature, we never can be. The weather affects the bees and that affects the food we eat. And here in New England apples are among a small handful of foods we identify ourselves with.

I pulled the last frames of people honey from Joy's hive today and it was a pretty sad experience. There were - at best - three full frames of honey. So for the year that brings us near 10 frames, just about half what we got last year.

On a happy note, the bees are all medicated. MEDICATED - you ask!? Yes, I do medicate the bees with formic acid - a soft and gentle method to help them get rid of the pesky mites that attack the bee's bodies and the tracheal mites that attach to their throats choking them. We need 21 days of 50' weather for Joy's hive to be fully medicated. (Pink and Sum are 10 days into their 21.)

As soon as I spin down the people honey, I will take out all the near-honey and nectar that the bees worked so hard on. This I will feed back to them. This time of year we often experience a dearth - a lack of nectar. The extra food - near-honey and some bee honey - will be put up for the winter.

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