Warm Weather Creates Buzz in Londonderry

Mar 12, 2012 No Comments by

Record high temperatures near 70 degrees today has the bees flying in Londonderry and wondering “where have all the flowers gone?” Located on the corner of Cross Road and Adams Road sit several bee hives that help pollinate the hundreds of acres of crops in town. Just moments ago, it was reported that the hives were swarming with bees, though it’s unsure if they were just stretching their wings after a long winter or out and about looking for work. In honor of this unusually warm, and active, day in Londonderry, we offer this reprint of this bee story.

So how does all this fruit in Londonderry get its start? As each of the plants grow they produce a flower that must be cross-pollinated. The orchards in town have a mix of tree types in neat rows, this is not just to provide you a variety to pick. Apple trees are “self incompatible” and need another type of apple tree for the honey bee to visit. An apple orchard needs one to two hives per acre of field. Strawberry’s and blueberries need as many as four per acre.

A few years ago, we ran into Alden Marshal tending the hives on Adams road, just over the wall where the giant maples were cut down a few years ago. Tending his hives for thirty years, he has several hundred located between Tyngsboro and Hampstead. In Londonderry, Alden is caretaker of 20 locations.

To get these amazing photos he opened the hives for a peek inside. While shooting the bees we were warned about standing in the approach corridor of the hives. On the way back the bees head directly to the front and can become agitated when you get in the way. The burr comb had just been removed with a knife to neaten up the frames that hold the honeycomb. You can see the workers completing the work he started.

We talked of house bees and robber bees, the guard bees that keep the robbers out, work the entrance. Even though the hives are within a few feet of each other each bee knows where to return to when coming back from the field. Each hive provides a surprising 40 to 50 pounds of honey every year. About the only thing he had to ay about the recent health issues with honey bees, was “we sure are getting a lot of press on the issue, it is not something affecting me”.

As we all know bad press is better than no press at all. Alden does not have a website but you can buy his product locally and reach him at the number on the side of the truck.

For more images of the hives, bees and Alden, visit our Darkroom!

Farms

About the author

Jacklynn has been a resident in Londonderry since the age of 5. She grew up in a quiet neighborhood and went through the great school system. She has fond memories of bike riding through town in the spring and summer, sledding in the winter, and apple and pumpkin picking in the fall. She now has children of her own and looks forward to raising them in the same town she enjoyed so much as a youth.
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