March 19, 2009

Chanticleer Pear

Full Pollen Baskets

March is the most dangerous time for the colony. It's been unseasonably warm the last two months, and the Queen has probably been very active. If there's lots of brood to feed – indicated by sisters coming home with lots of pollen – a cold snap could mean disaster. If the Winter stores have been depleted but it's too cold to forage, everybody could starve.

Still, the first sighting of a honeybee brings hope for us. The greenhouse will go up soon, and we have only to decide whether to repopulate the hive with another swarm, a nuc or a package. Of course, we've already done the swarm thing, and given the results, we're happy to try another route. But those options cost money, and they're not guaranteed either.

BTW, the pear tree doesn't produce fruit that's edible, unless you're a squirrel. It's strictly ornamental, but all those blossoms are apparently a good source of pollen and nectar. The flies love it, too, which I guess is why the tree stinks. Pee-ew!

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