It would seem spring is here to stay and we’ve had a chance to do our preliminary hive inspections. Although the bee activity around our Honey House has seemed normal, such was not the case at our hives further afield. We have experienced higher than normal honey bee losses this spring and so far we are still trying to pin down the reason. There are indications that we’re not alone – other Alberta beekeepers are also facing severe winter losses this year- we’ll hopefully know more by next month.
Our surviving bees have been dining on their custom made pollen patties and are looking very good heading into the final stretch before the dandelions start blooming. Our new packages arrive from New Zealand near the beginning of May so we’ll be spending the next few weeks in preparation.
An interesting example of a feral hive that suffered a similar fate this winter is depicted above. A summer swarm found an excellent new home inside a wire spool. By last October they had stored a huge supply of honey. Their ‘hive’ was in a protected spot but not wrapped like ours were. By March the bees were gone, leaving 30 lbs of honey and some moldy honey comb.
On a happier note we have been able to take in a few fun events such as the Southern Alberta Food & Beverage Expo in Red Deer April 1st. It was a busy evening and a real pleasure to pour mead for many first time tasters. Our Red Deer area liquor stores have expanded to include the new Central Alberta Co-op liquor store in Timberlands.
A sure sign of spring is the Calgary Horticultural Society Garden Show on April 29th and 30th. We’ll be at Booth 14 in the Equiplex at Spruce Meadows – come and say hi! It’s the best place to get all the gear you need for a summer of great gardening.