There is one advantage to having to quarantine for a few days. I can watch the Olympics without feeling like I should be exercising madly before I do. The bug is sweeping through the family and what once seemed like a distant threat is now at the door. A year ago, we were all rather smug in our observations of infection rates that did not seem to affect those on Vancouver Island. We got our shots and we wore our masks and washed our hands and we got used to the idea that our favourite restaurants and sporting facilities might be closed or might be limiting the number of people who could enter. From Olympics to Omicron, all things Greek are in vogue.
Two test kits sit on my shelf, unused, the fear of contagion has passed, and the extended family and friends are over it or well on the road to recovery. Now it is all about making sure the mask fits effectively and enough days have passed after exposure to not worry about passing it along to others. It’s going to be like this for a while yet. I think I will retreat to the backyard and see how the bees are doing.
We are in that critical window when the weather is improving but not enough for the bees to do more than make a cleansing flight before rejoining the cluster. Many beekeepers have commented on the loss of their hives and Shirley Richardson will soon contact you to confirm whether or not your hives have survived the season. Carolyn Hissen has been pricing shipping costs to Richmond and the cost of honey jars to see if we can solve two problems: make the trip with bee equipment to Sterigenics affordable and see if we can buy glassware in bulk and save our club members some money.
Understanding why you may have lost your hive over winter will be a little clearer when you join our Zoom meeting on Thursday, February 10th at 7:00pm. Our guest speaker will be our Provincial Apiculturist, Paul van Westendorp. Paul will be talking about Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and steps we can take in light of the potential loss of irradiation services for beekeepers located outside the lower mainland. The topic is usually a one-day course so we will dedicate the majority of our meeting to the topic. Paul is based out of the Animal Health Centre in Abbotsford at the epicenter of the floods in November so we may get a little inside perspective on the recovery process.