January 1848, Coloma, California
May 1861, Central Otago, New Zealand
August 1896, Klondike, Yukon
July 2019, China Beach, BC
Yes. They are all gold rushes; stampedes, great gobbling glitter seekers hiking into the hills to find hidden treasure. Seasoned veterans, novices and tenderfoots are all looking to plant their claim to the next nectar flow and bring home some honey. Victoria’s neighbourhoods have been drying out and perhaps some people have collected honey from the blackberry blooms but most are depending on the florets of fireweed to fill their honey fix this year.
Access to the three outyards means passing through a locked gate to fend off the public and into one of three fenced yards to fend off the bears (and both are up there). Tags help to limit the number of hives placed in an area that is slowly giving way to other vegetation that replace the early fireweed that we are looking for. In the past, when the club was small, each member or family could place up to five hives in a yard.
Brad and I did a walk of the roads leading into the yards and brushed back the bushes to minimize damage to cars. In past years we have seen fireweed in bloom at lower levels but there was little sign of the pink blossoms at any level in the first week of July. People going up have to remember it is fire season, make sure their bees have been treated for mites and keep their hives close together so that everyone gets their chance to reward themselves for their hard work to-date. Thank you to Brad for all his work obtaining the tags and tracking down the gear for another season.
Thank you to the people manning the phones and responding to calls of bee swarms. We have had lots of calls about bumblebees, wasps and, of course, honey bees. The best-laid plans still seem to swarm off into the sunset and the occasional retrieval of a swarm does feel good.