So that was Spring…

IMG_1804Embarrassing…I see that my previous post was in March. Can that really be true!? Well, to update you on how my assessments fared for my breeder colonies, I did indeed do a second data collection at the beginning of April, and then used those two bit of information to decide which colonies should be tested for hygienic behavior. The ones that survived the winter well, built up nicely, and had a fairly gentle disposition were the ones I submitted to be tested.  We are so happy to be one of the many beekeeping operations across Canada participating in this study, which aims to develop a tool based on the molecular structure of the bees, so that bee breeders can use it to select for beneficial traits (hygienic behavior, honey production, disposition, etc). Our bees get tested for all kinds of things, and it’s great information for us to have!

So, one of the excuses reasons for why it’s been 3 months since our last update?

We are incredibly excited to announce that we received funding from the Lush Sustainable Fund! We are using it to double our queen production capacity (which is now complete; many more 3-way boxes at our new mating yard, pictured below)

Umm…including the newly minted “cat lid”. We had a bbq recently, and gave guests the option of stenciling onto equipment, if they felt crafty.  Bees can see shapes, so I hope it will help the newly mated queens find their way! Thank you, friends, for being waaaay more artistic than me.

Part of doubling our capacity has meant hiring our very first part-time employee; welcome Courtney, we are so happy to have you!  It’s meant a big learning curve for us, as we’ve never had an employee before, but I think we’ve got all the things in order for now (also hence the absence of posts — see? another excuse reason). But it is just amazing to have a capable beekeeper like that out there with me; we can get so much done, which really matters in the June-uary weather we’ve been having, where you might only have half a day of sunshine before the downpour begins.  It’s also a huge mental and physical relief to me at times when the workload is heavy,  time-sensitive, and accomplished while sweating buckets in a bee suit.

Anyway. Dandelion has come and gone.  Maple and Horse Chestnut too.I always keep meticulously detailed records of those early blooms, with pictures, because I am so excited that winter is over. Then everything blooms at once, swarm season comes, and I stop keeping track.  Swarms are over, too, for the most part. We had most of our swarms in late April, owing to the early hot weather (that was a particularly galling swarm on the upper right there. I climbed that cherry tree maybe 8 times, and in the end, still didn’t get the queen — they just fly back up if you don’t get her. That was also my “car2go” swarm, as Liam had the truck). We had many swarms during that unexpected hot patch…but it seems to have evened out now, as we have been religiously taking bees and brood out of hives to make up our mating nucs.

Blackberry bloom has come, and almost gone. No pics…maybe next post?(Don’t laugh…school’s almost out, and I’ll have more time, I swear!)

Until then.

-D

 

 

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