President’s message (August 2017)

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This week’s news told the story of a man who killed his wife on board a cruise ship on its way to Alaska. He muttered: “My life is over. She wouldn’t stop laughing at me.” My only thought was that my own life would be over if my wife stopped laughing at me. It is the glue that has held our marriage together through thick and thin, these past 40 years. On my arm is a tattoo of a honeybee resting on a cake of comb and the words: “Long Live My Queen”. She laughed at that. On a good day in August, every door handle in our house is sticky after extracting the liquid gold from the annual harvest. She didn’t laugh quite as much, for sure, but smiled when I said, “TA DA!” at all the jars stacked on the counter. She laughs when I sing and she laughs when I dance and I hope to keep her laughing for another 40 years.

The longevity of the queen in my hive has not been so fortuitous. Removed in late May to make way for a kinder, gentler rein, I only succeeded in creating a vacuum filled by drone-laying queen wanabees who killed her replacement. Now, having systematically installed sheets of brood and eggs, the worker bees are settling down and have generated a new queen cell and rekindled my expectations of a calmer hive when she ultimately arrives and mates.

I wish I had been able to hear Iain Glass’s upcoming presentation on adaptive beekeeping. I might have avoided some of my earlier troubles in re-queening. Iain will make the trip from West Vancouver to speak to us about adaptive beekeeping at our August 10th meeting and, according to him, make a shameless pitch for project beekeepers here on Vancouver Island.

Ticking along in the background is the work related to our hosting of the 2018 BCHPA conference here in Victoria. Barry D has done a lot of the early leg work to secure a location and now we will begin working with the BCHPA executive to build a vibrant conference for new and seasoned beekeepers alike.

Bob D has submitted a proposal for club hives located on the Newman family farm and we are waiting for the District of Central Saanich to confirm we can set up on the property. If we are successful, we will be actively seeking volunteers for the club hive project in early spring 2018.

Wendi G, our provincial inspector, has issued a general warning and requirement to check your hives for AFB. The disease has been found in hives across the southern tip of Vancouver Island and is not localized so beware, be diligent and be thorough.

Swarms have been minimal this summer, though I may regret saying that, and now our focus is on feeding our bees as local forage dries up. Derek W and his crew have done an amazing job of creating protected space in the out yards near China Beach and I need to remind keepers that the space is meant for hobbyists with one or two hives and not for those managing more than five. We have relied on the self-regulation of members and will have to be more direct in our management of the sites. Fair Warning! You may not be laughing if we notify you of your hives being sealed and removed from the site.

My queen and I may not be so fortunate with honey production this year but I have heard of others collecting substantial quantities after the blackberry flow and wish you all a successful season.

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