Tuesday, August 23, 2016
This has been another interesting year at our Foster apiary. We started the season with a strong hive and two brand new hives. Each new hive started life as a queen and three pounds of worker bees. Usually you have a good year if a new hive gives you one super worth of honey once in a great while you can get two supers worth of honey. A honey super is the boxes above the bottom two larger boxes. The bottom two larger boxes are for the bees to store honey and pollen and raise bees and survive through the winter. The above boxes are for the bee keeper.
The strong hive was too strong, I knew it was too strong, I knew I should have split it in half but just did not get to it in time so it swarmed and naturally reduced its size. When that happens you may or may not get some excess honey we were fortunate to get one nice super of honey.
The two new hives were first installed at the North Scituate orchard to help in apple and pear pollination. Unfortunately the weather was horrible and they pretty much lived on the sugar water we provided. Once pollination was over we moved them to the Foster Apiary. One hive was doing well and the other was weak and had a queen problem. She was there just not producing much. Things got busy and when I went back to see if I could put on any supers the weak hive was almost gone. The other new hive was doing really well and I suspect that the bees from the now queen less hive started migrating to the stronger hive. Today August 23rd we were able to remove five full or almost full honey supers from one 2016 hive.
The amount of clover and other wild flowers in Foster is really amazing and for a second year we had layers of clover and other wild flowers right through August. We left an empty honey super on each hive and we recently planted buckwheat for weed suppression. Maybe just maybe we will have some buckwheat honey later in the season.
Thursday, May 5, 2016
It is not hard to guess what is missing from this image, blossoms. Out of almost 250 peach and nectarine trees we counted seven blossoms. Most years we lose buds, blossoms and or developing fruit to spring freezes. A peach orchard can lose a very high percentage of fruit stages and still have an excellent crop. This year the loss is virtually 100%. The experts tell us that this year the fruit buds died during the extremely cold weather in February, combined with the warm December and January.
We are still renovating our peach and nectarine orchard and replaced sixty trees this spring including the addition of a white peach and a white nectarine. We will also take the time to cut back the mature peach and nectarine trees to get them in good shape for next season.
We still expect a plum crop this season. The plums are also a stone fruit but it looks like they are just slightly hardier.