Honey bees are obviously a passion of ours and why we are here today. Since we started in 1995 the world of beekeeping has changed considerably but the bees have also changed. The advent of Colony Collapse Disorder in 2006 in the US has raised the awareness of the importance of honey bees and other pollinators. The ensuing honey bee health issues that followed in Canada have increased the diligence required to keep our bees healthy – they’re just not as vigorous as they once were. To learn more about honey bees there are many resources and an excellent ways is to join one of our educational programs. Our observation hive is available at all times but the programs will give you more complete information both about the bees and beekeeping.
If you want to join the world of beekeeping we suggest researching it thoroughly and taking a course first. It’s very important to make sure your research discusses beekeeping in your geographical area or one of similar climate. Connect with your area beekeeping group (in the Calgary area, the Calgary & District Beekeepers Association) as they can provide mentorship and assistance in many ways. Also contact your government apiculture representative (Alberta Apiculturist) as they may also run courses, can advise you on your legal requirements as a future apiarist and likely have many other resources for you.
Chinook Honey Company does not sell bees or beekeeping supplies. If you are thinking about purchasing bees plan ahead – most ordering is done in November for the next year or at least by February. You may be able to source bees (including queens) through your local beekeeping group, or in the southern Alberta area from Beemaid Alberta or Scandia Honey. Presently in Canada bee packages cannot be sourced from the US but must come from either New Zealand or Australia. Canadian honey bee import regulations are restrictive in an effort to prevent more honey bee pests and diseases from crossing our borders and invading our hives. Nucleus hives or ‘nucs’ (small hives derived from splitting a portion of bees from a larger hive and providing them with a new queen bee) can sometimes be purchased from local beekeepers. It’s another good reason to network with your nearest beekeeping association.
Beekeeping supplies in the southern Alberta area can be found at Beemaid Alberta and Scandia Honey also carries some rudimentary equipment. Another option is Western Bee Supplies Inc. located in Montana. If you are purchasing used equipment it is wise to discard all old honeycomb and even boxes because they could contain diseases, pests or chemical residue that would harm your bees or contaminate your honey.