President’s message (October 2020)

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Brad, my bee buddy and I, are batting 50/50 at the moment and we are still only in the first few weeks of fall. When the hives came back from the out yard, half simply went into the shed, empty of bees and offering some food for the other remaining hives. They seemed to be doing well in the last weeks of August and then – there were none. Was it the smoke from the wildfires disorienting them and causing them to feed and flee? Might it be mites, expanding exponentially or a sudden loss of forage as the season abruptly ended, causing bees to swarm and wasps to take their place? Lots of keepers are scratching their heads and trying to puzzle the answer and some are tiptoeing around the possibility of AFB in their hives. They are all reasonable hypotheses and sure to be the points of discussion as our small groups gather for one last time this fall. Watch for an email confirming the location for your local group meeting in an outdoor location:

  • Victoria hosted by Carolyn H
  • Oak Bay/Gordon Head hosted by Bill F
  • Saanich and Saanich North hosted by Don L and Cindy P
  • Vic West hosted by Nicole S
  • Langford/Metchosin/Colwood hosted by Werner G

I must admit I am a little sore as I write this update but, sometimes, good things are going to hurt. A small group made its way out to Larry and Marilyn Lindahl’s farm near Cowichan Lake to pick up rakes, shovels and saws to muck out the chicken coop and stack wood for the winter. After decades of helping beekeepers up and down the island, Larry needs our help. It’s no secret that Larry recently survived a heart attack that left him unable to do the heavy lifting necessary to run a farm. Thank you to Werner, Karen and Carolyn who were able to make the trip on short notice. We will schedule some more weekend trips up to Cowichan and invite you to be a farmer for a few hours.

Tara Galpin, our Bee Inspector for Lower Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands has a new email address; she can be reached at

Murder Hornets continue to be sighted in Washington State and their impact on beehives can be dramatic. Be watchful and if you observe one please let Tara know.

In anticipation of cooler, wetter weather, we will “resume the zoom” and make our November meeting on-line.

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