President’s message (October 2018)

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When I first got involved with bees I had heard of Carniolans but I had a hard time pronouncing the word and I had no idea where they came from. Our local bees come from places like Hawaii and New Zealand or, if we were lucky, are bred locally but other than that, asking the question: “Where do bees come from?” seemed like something I should know. The first colonies introduced to Vancouver Island, came from San Jose California in 1858 and were delivered into the hands of JB Ogilvie, here in Victoria. Where, though, did those bees come from? And now I know, (because I have been there) that one of the original strains of bees, the Carniolans, come from a province with the Republic of Slovenia.

Carnelia (Carniola) was part of the Roman province of Pannonia in ancient times and was occupied by the Slovenes in the 6th century AD (says Wikipedia). Carnelia was the name of the region, and today, we know the Carniolan bee as one of the “root stocks” of our industry. Slovenia is known for its production of honey and a wide array of honey related products. Different flavours, balms and lotions, pollen in chocolate and propolis in liquid and sprays. On the streets of Ljubljana whole stores specialize in bee related products.

For a beekeeper, travelling to Slovenia is almost like a pilgrimage to Mecca. Seeing the hives, the market stalls of honey and the retail stores selling all sorts of bee related products fascinates me and reinforces the wonderful worldwide connections we can make through our practice of beekeeping.

Our guest speaker this month will take us to another part of the world. Linda Weech, BFA, BEd, is a local artist, volunteering internationally to create sustainable agricultural and art projects for communities in need, with the Children’s International Peace Project. She will be speaking about her work with Pygmy beekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and other projects. This unique talk will surely be fascinating and may include some African “bee music.” There will be art cards (as well as bee related and other items) for sale for $5, each of which pays to plant a food bearing tree in current food sustainability projects. Join us as we learn about our connections with the Congo through beekeeping.

We are also in the countdown for the upcoming BCHPA annual conference (Oct 26-28) and Barry will have instructions for us all and a reminder to take advantage of the educational portion of the weekend.

With October well under way, we need to think about the upcoming year and a reminder that club fees for 2019 will be $32. You will see the change on our web page now so that those who use the online PayPal option will already be adjusted for the coming year.

Thank you to Carolyn Hissen for organizing the September meeting and to Barry Denluck for his continued work on the conference details. We are into the home stretch and an excellent conference is coming our way.

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