A pan view of one of our yards at dusk, as we prepare hives for delivery to blueberry growers. Photo: Jeff Lee

Blueberry pollination time is here, a month early for our bees

It’s that time of the spring when the calls come in from our growers: the bees are wanted in the blueberry fields, and pronto, please! It’s always a bit of a mad dash when getting ready for the blueberry “call”; colonies have to be equalized to make sure they’re strong enough, and then selected for […]

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Amanda out in one of our apiaries in Metro area. Where's the snow? Photo: Jeff Lee

Late-winter feeding of the bees as spring draws near

We spent much of the weekend out with the bees, making those important late-winter checks to see who had survived and who had not. Some are thriving. But not a few are struggling. What made this weekend both enjoyable and worrisome was the extraordinarily mild weather. February can be a tough month here, both rainy […]

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Bee on lavender

B.C. Honey Producers to hold neonicotinoid insecticide discussion

There is a debate developing in British Columbia about the concern over neonicotinoid insecticides and the effects they may be having on pollinators, both wild and domestic. We’ve been watching with interest the actions of the Ontario government to try and rein in the use of neonics (NNIs) by reducing their use by 80 per […]

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Applying oxalic acid in vapour form. I use a Heilyser Technologies vapourizer attached to a 12-volt car battery. Acid is in the bottle on top of the hive, purchased from a chemist. (Photo: Amanda Goodman Lee)

Treating bees with oxalic acid; a late-winter mite-killing exercise

It’s the beginning of February and we’re just starting to get busy for the start of the new season. If you are like me, you will have a long list of unfinished chores from the fall. From cleaning up and repairing boxes and equipment to finishing those ambitious workshop projects that are supposed to make […]

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Melanie Kirby, owner of Zia Queenbee Co., will be a keynote speaker at the BCHPA Semi-Annual meeting in Kamloops March 13-14.

B.C. Honey Producers semi-annual conference set for March 12-14

Get ready for the B.C. Honey Producers Association’s semi-annual general meeting and Education Day on March 13-14 in Kamloops. The BCHPA has organized a great education program for Saturday, March 14, following their regular business day on Friday. You can register here. They are also bringing back, by popular demand, the Certified Instructors Course, which […]

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Carniolan hybrid honey bee queen

Bee Time: Mark Winston’s book opens our eyes to the plight of the bees.

It has been long overdue, that review of Mark Winston’s book Bee Time. I started in the gloriously long summer before the honey harvest was over and read it while sitting in a beach chair at a remote Okanagan Lake cabin when I could savour the flavour of his writing without distraction. The review stalled during the […]

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We made a simple syrup dispenser for our bee yards out of a small 12-volt pony pump, marine deep-cycle battery, garden hose and fittings. As long as you wash it out with hot water after use, it works like a charm! Photo: Jeff Lee

Build a sugar syrup pump for feeding the bees

When we first started out beekeeping with two hives, we didn’t need anything to feed other than a bucket, some sugar and a couple of in-frame feeders. These, of course, were for those necessary periods in the fall, winter and early spring when forage isn’t around. If you had told me that we would eventually […]

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Some of our colonies out in the Fraser Valley, with accompanying four-leged companions and Amanda. Photo: Jeff Lee

Our beautiful sunny, warm – and utimately deadly – fall weather

I am sure that I have seen this before, this long, winding fall of sun and warmth, where even the leaves on the maples and horse chestnuts remain unreasonably green. But somehow, this fall seems different, far beyond the Indian Summer we sometimes get. The smatterings of rain we’ve had in recent weeks have been […]

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