Bee Diaries: April 9, 2011

Spring                                                                             Waxing Beehiving Moon

This morning:  an auto da fe, an act of faith, but as you history buff’s know, also a burning.  Acting on the word of Mcarthur Grant Genius, Marla Spivak, I burned my old hives and frames since I believe they had an infestation of American Foulbrood.  They were old and came from my first bee mentor, Mark, so it was time to cycle them out of our bee yard hive-burninganyhow.

It took me a while to get them going, I felt a little bit like Crankshaft, pouring on the starter fluid, but finally the heat got high enough to melt the wax and then the fire burned, smoky and jumping high, all that work melting into flames.  While they burned, I cleared plant matter out of the raised beds, detritus from last fall, readying them for planting tomorrow, I hope.

(not mine, but a bee keepers fire)

Purification by fire, burning out a disease organism that can stay in the brood cells for up to 50 years, a small flake filled with the virus, only waiting for a moment when it can awaken.  This stuff can spread from hive to hive so scorched earth is the best answer.  In addition, Marla recommends burning five year old frames and hive boxes just to be safe.

The comb melted and spurred the fire higher, small bee bodies dropping from the brood chambers and the sides of the frames to the bottom board.  It’s been awhile since I burned anything, but it did remind me of the old days in Alexandria, Indiana where we used to burn our trash in 50 gallon oil barrels.  We had to poke it and move the the stuff around to insure everything got consumed.

I’ll use the dead bees and the ash as a fertilizer for the raised beds, a whole cycle.

If you go down further in my postings, you’ll discover the posting I removed earlier are back.  My brother is now here in Andover, away from Thailand.  Apparently an angry employer can retain foreign nationals for unfinished work contracts and Mark had a bit over three weeks left on his.  Nothing happened, so he arrived safely around 12:45 today after the grueling 17 hours in the air from Bangkok.  We’ve talked, he’s sleeping off his jet lag now.  Both Kate and I are glad he’s here.

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