Thursday, March 12, 2015

It's Spring!

Or at least as far as I'm concerned, it is.  In my world here in northern NJ, spring started over the weekend.  Not because of the rising temperatures, though that certainly makes me happy, but because Saturday night the clocks changed!  It wears me out, more than you'd think a one-hour time change should, but it also makes me happy to be leaving the office in daylight.

And the other reason it started to feel like spring this weekend is because on Saturday was the first annual FLOW Green Fair (FLOW = Franklin Lakes, Oakland, Wyckoff), and I had a hand in it!  It was organized and hosted by the three environmental commissions, with my own commission chair and town's green team really spearheading it.  If you ask me, although of course as a first year event it had a couple logistical issues, it was a raving success.

I did two things for the fair, specifically.  The first was getting the president of the Northeast NJ Beekeepers Association (my local club) to take a booth and teach everyone about bees.  He had a lot of interest, of course.

And the second?  I spent the day face panting, of course!  I figured they had enough help with the environmental displays and organization, and it was something I could offer that others couldn't.  I was a hit.

Then again, so were the displays and the hip hopping fruit.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Back to the Bees

We had an ice storm last week.

Well, after the ice hit, I was terrified that all the bees were dead.  The next morning, I went out back and the entire front entrance was iced over, so I cleared it, and saw what looked like a sea of dead bees just inside the entrance & extending back.  We were really scared that they'd all died of starvation (the most common cause of colony decimation this time of year) or lack of ventilation when the entrance was covered, because they cannot have moisture.  Moisture is a much bigger bee-killer than the cold.

Happy surprise!  Yesterday when it got to 42F, although it was really overcast & even drizzling, we went into the hive to check on them.  Eric was smart & wore his veil.  I was a doofus and thought I wouldn't need veil or gloves.  Plus, I was in my big black winter coat, and they hate dark colors - they think you're a bear attacking.  My mistake.

We brought out what we have left of fondant and pollen patty for them, in case they needed it.

Took off the outer & inner cover, and there were a ton of them!  And they were ANNOYED.  They don't like being chilly and they don't like when it's not sunny, and they wanted us OUT.

We managed to get the inner cover back on & Eric snapped a photo through the hole before we closed it back up entirely (turns out they still had a bunch of fondant, meaning they'd had enough honey stores, so we didn't need to feed them yet), but unfortunately, they wouldn't let us photograph them with the inner cover off.

Still... so happy to see they're still there & OK!  In fact, Eric is working from home today (it's 52F & sunny) and says that the girls are going crazy in the warmth and sun.  Hundreds of the bees are flying, maybe more.  Did I mention how happy I am?  I'm just jealous I'm not home to see it!

Gonna buy more fondant and see if we can't feed them later this week.  Better to give them more than they need than let them starve.  It'd suck if they made it through winter ok & then died this late in the game.
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