There is something very calming as one opens and places a package of bees in its new home. Nothing is frantic, rushed or panicked about the process – at least you hope. Bee hood not on – did that once. Watched the queen fly away – did that once. Squished a queen – yip that was me. Cuffs exposed – well now I just use duct tape and I don’t care what people think. But I digress. With fresh syrup and pollen patties in place the bees are quick to settle and build comb around the queen. In the early spring sunshine of this past week they have emerged to explore their new home several thousand kilometres from where they were hatched. It’s easy for a few minutes to set aside all the news of the world and let the steady hum of bees offer a little normalcy to our days.
We have arrived at another Annual General Meeting with a large contingent of members (over 200) in tow. It’s pretty remarkable given the various health mandates and limited opportunities to meet in person! A few people stepped away from beekeeping as the physicality of the work surpassed their own capability and some packed their boxes after suffering winter losses – again. Every season we learn a bit more but it is a costly endeavour to start over with new bees and in some cases new equipment. And along the way we have had a lot of new people begin their bee careers, learning about pollen patties, laying workers and AFB – all via Zoom.
Without a face-to-face meeting it is difficult to say thank you but I will. Thank you to Nairn Hollott who dedicated 15 years after her retirement as a teacher to educating many, many students about bees. Thank you, Carolyn Hissen who has sat at the Executive table since before I joined the club and will now be part of a new Executive building a new school. Thank you to Simon Lightbody and Nicole Sleeth who have reached the end of their terms on Executive and continue to support the club in other roles. Thank you to all the members who look after our out yard, library, bee equipment, social media and trips to Sterigenics and most importantly, share their knowledge with new beekeepers here on Vancouver Island.
After our Zoom call on Thursday, March 10th we will be planning the move to our next club location at Central Saanich Seniors Community Centre at 1229 Clarke Rd in Brentwood Bay. It’s time to settle into a new location.