Spring has finally escaped quarantine and no one is happier than our honeybees! Although our first dandelions are still hiding, a few rain showers will encourage them to pop out any day. The dancing bees will be a prelude to all of us dancing out of confinement!
When we think about the future after COVID-19 we know there will be many changes- some short term and some long. We are very grateful that so many people have been supporting local businesses -especially producers- and we hope that continues. At Chinook Honey we also wonder about how bees and beekeeping will be affected. The bees themselves are not in danger of contracting the disease but will our changed behavior have an influence? Absolutely! More individuals are taking up gardening which will certainly be appreciated by the bees – as long as we refrain from using pesticides. Don’t forget that most insects, birds and animals appreciate a source of water, so add that to your outdoor space if you can. More flowers bring a wider variety of nectar sources and that will benefit bee nutrition as well. Many of us are spending more time outdoors and with that, developing a better understanding of nature. Some may even be thinking about starting beekeeping but that definitely requires a long term commitment. A minor factor will also be less insect deaths from sudden vehicle contact since there are less vehicles on the road 😉
And how about beekeeping? We reported last month about the sudden lack of imported bee packages from NZ. The shortage of bees has been a boon for Canadian bee breeders who have been working hard to meet the demand. Although nearly impossible to match it entirely, we hope it will boost the industry far into the future. The other COVID factor for today’s beekeeping in Canada has been the difficulty in getting temporary foreign workers into Canada to assist the large scale apiaries. Some feel that the jobs should be filled by the hundreds of thousands of unemployed but that’s a simplistic viewpoint. However we can hope that some Canadians take the opportunity and in so doing build a better understanding of our agricultural system.
Over all, it looks like our COVID experience might be a positive one. It sure has been educational and that’s always good!