President’s message (February 2024)

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What an unusual winter – if you can even call it winter! Bees foraging – and bringing back pollen – well into November. Despite oxalic treatments, mite counts persisting right until the January cold snap, arguing for continued brood production. While I didn’t pop open my boxes to check, other members that did have reported seeing brood in December! And now it’s time for the start of this year’s season; time to plan, time to get your new equipment and get the old equipment ready, and time to get together to talk about it!

Extractor Auction

We will be auctioning off a 6 deep/12 medium frame manual honey extractor that has been donated to the club by Pat Peach of Cowichan Bees. It has never been used, but has some minimal damage. The minimum bid is set at $50; it has a retail value of at least $400-$500. If you are unable to attend the meeting, email bids will be accepted up to midnight Wednesday Feb 7th by emailing BUT – bidders submitting this way will not be able to participate in the active bidding at the meeting. If by chance there are two identical winning email bids submitted by non-attendees, the winner will be the member with the earlier date stamp on their email.

Meeting Recordings

We will no longer be offering a simultaneous Zoom connection to our meetings. The members doing the videocasting have found that it requires their full attention, preventing them from participating in and enjoying the meeting. However, we will be taping the meeting and uploading the recording to a private YouTube site; the link will be emailed to members within a week or so of the meeting itself. To find a previous recording, go to our webpage at Click on the ‘Club’ button on the top banner, then on ‘Member Login’ on the dropdown menu. Once logged in, click on the ‘Invitations to online club meetings’ icon, the third one down. Presto!

Swarm Group

After many years of absolutely stellar service to the club, Peter Day is stepping away from being our Swarm Call Coordinator. Thank you, Peter!! Fortunately for us, Laure Newnham has volunteered to step into this role and we look forward to her leadership. She will be speaking at our March meeting to get the Swarm Group up and ready for what promises to be an early

In the meantime, she asks that you please ensure that you have registered your apiary address(es) with the club If you want your bees to be on our hive location map; this allows the Swarm Group to identify which members are in the vicinity of an identified swarm, and can help you get your own bees back… AND – a new document outlining the organization of the Swarm Call Group has been uploaded to our website; log in then click on the ‘Policies and Procedures’ link and it will show up in the drop-down menu.

Hive Survival Survey

Shirley Richardson has generously volunteered her time to do a hive survival survey again this year. So, you will be getting a phone call from her – and when you see her name appearing on your call display, please pick up! It won’t be a telemarketer! She will be presenting her results at a meeting later in the spring; hopefully, they will be a lot better than the dismal 30% survival we had last winter!!


We will be having a Sterigenics run again this year. If you are not familiar with this, Sterigenics irradiates beekeeping equipment, thereby killing off most/all pathogens, and is a prudent thing to do with equipment that has been used for several years. To receive the funding we require to be able to afford to provide this service, we need to complete the run by the end of February – so time is of the essence!

And please note – please consider volunteering your time to help, it’s a lot of work that has been falling on too few people! If you are willing to help, please let me know through

Executive openings

And speaking of volunteering, we will be having two openings on the club Executive as of our March Annual General Meeting:

  • Don Lambert is completing his two-year term as First Vice-President, and is willing to have his name stand for re-election;
  • Victoria Schedel is completing her term as Secretary, and is stepping away for personal reasons.

We also need someone to coordinate the club’s presence at the Annual Saanich Fair; for many years we have had a booth there with some demonstration equipment and a live hive, honey judging, and informational materials. It has been very popular, and is a lot of fun. Victoria Schedel has been doing this for several years – thank you, Victoria!! She is willing to stay on this year only, to mentor a person to take on this role going forward. Please consider becoming involved, giving back to the club community. If you would like to do so, email me at

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