The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 13, 2003


Where in Carlisle?

(Photo by Ellen Huber)
Where in Carlisle would you find the curious box-like structures pictured above? First, it might be helpful to answer the question "What in Carlisle?" These structures are actually beehives; home to an enclave of honeybees that live and work in the Cranberry Bog.

Although these particular honeybees belong to Al Horton of Dunstable, there are a number of beekeepers who live right here in Carlisle. Among them is Ernie Huber, who has been keeping bees for the past 25 years. Right now, Huber says, the bees are "at the height of the swarm season," during which the old queens leave with half of their subjects to seek a new home, leaving the rest of the hive to a new queen. Aside from pampering their queens, the bees are also beginning to circulate among the flowers. "The nectar is just beginning to flow," says Huber, who adds that this season has come about three weeks later than normal, due to the long and cold winter.

The brutal winter also took a terrible toll on the bee population. Beekeepers in Carlisle and other northeastern towns report a loss of up to 80% of their bees. These are alarming numbers when one considers that farmers count on honeybees to pollinate crops of all kinds · including the cranberries at the Cranberry Bog.

Luckily, there are plenty of honeybees who have wintered down south and will soon be sent north, to tend to our local fruit and vegetable crops. The bees will be in place and hard at work, say Horton and Gus Skamarycz (of Tyngsboro, who also owns bees at the Cranberry Bog), by the time the cranberries are in bloom.

2003 The Carlisle Mosquito