President’s message (June 2021)

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The swelling has gone down and my youthful glow has subsided to the usual crags and crinkles that are largely hidden by my COVID mask. Who knew one wayward bee in the nose could wreak such vengeance? My bee buddy Brad avoided the sting but endured the screaming buzz of a frantic bee trying to burrow into his ear. You would think that between the two of us at least one would know how to zip up a bee suit… Professionals we are not! And to add insult to injury, I keep getting social media clips of a young beekeeper, clad only in t-shirt and jeans casually rounding up handfuls of bees as she rescues swarms from an uncertain future.

Not all honeybees are willing to stay home and mind their own wax. Some are truly aggressive, establishing a very large zone of intrusion around their hive and then pinging and stinging unsuspecting people and pets that enter that zone. It’s tough when your backyard hives press the patience of neighbours and the removal of a queen is only a gamble that the next will produce a gentler offspring. Building your network of bee friends can help in relocating a particularly aggressive hive to a larger property where they can thrive in a less dense area. Joining your regional small group helps to build that network of like-minded people who can help with the bee challenges in your life.

As conditions improve, the likelihood of meeting in person increases but we are still on the hunt for a meeting hall for the club. If you have any ideas or contacts for a church or community hall that can hold up to 100 people and some equipment, please let me or someone on Exec know.

Saanich Fair 2021

If you are a betting person you can bet that the Saanich Fair will happen on the September Labour Day weekend this year. I am delighted to let you know that Victoria Schedel will be our Bee Display Convener this year and I know that all who can will pitch in to help. Plans are taking form to offer timed passes to visitors who will be able to walk through the buildings and, once again, check out the bees in our observation hive. Displays and rides will all be in place, as well as the farm market, but the hours of operation will be reduced and there won’t be any tasting of honey. We will still need volunteers to answer questions and judge submissions of honey and other bee products. Watch for more info as Saanich Fair directors solidify the overall plan.

Bonnie Zand of the Pests, Pollinators and Beneficials Project writes:

The Vancouver Island Pests, Pollinators and Beneficials Project (VIPPB) will be running a number of programs over the summer of 2021, with the goals of increasing our knowledge of the diversity of species that are present in Vancouver Island agriculture, ranging from pests, to pollinators, to other beneficial insects such as predators and parasitoids.

One aspect of the project is a citizen science project, using the iNaturalist platform. We would love to have a wide range of pollinator observations from across the island, and from the multiple scales of agriculture present here. All you need to join is a camera and a computer or smartphone, and a willingness to photograph bees and other insects that you observe in agricultural settings (from home gardens to large scale farms). Here is a short intro to the project, which I hope you will be willing to forward to your membership. As well, I will be providing a Zoom introduction to the project on June 10th. You can sign up for the webinar here, or if you are already familiar with iNaturalist, our project can be found here. You can learn about all the aspects of VIPPB on our Facebook pageTwitter account, and through our newsletter.

Funding for this project has been provided by the governments of Canada and British Columbia, under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership; a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC and the BC Agricultural Research & Development Corporation administer the fund and the project is part of the Regional Adaptation Program delivered by the Climate & Agriculture Initiative BC.

If you have any questions about the project, please contact Bonnie Zand directly.

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