I got good news!!!! But let me bring you up to date first 😊
The bee blog has been revived after a one year hiatus but the bees were around for all of 2018. We started that season with one surviving hive from which we made three splits. Due to other pressing obligations, we were not able to give the bees the best care possible. So we also didn’t have a honey harvest. And later that year, two of the three splits died from a wasp invasion. With our remaining hive, we held onto hope and with each surviving cold spell, our hope grew. In April 2019, we thought they had made it, but one look into the hive forebode a hive in distress. The queen scampered about alone while a handful of worker bees were faced with multiple eggs in the same cells. In mid April, that hive too, had died. It was a surprise to us given the winter they had already overcome. There was no shortage of honey in that hive. That brings me to believe that the district of Saanich had been spraying pesticides on Lesser Celandine again like they did last year. And each year I send a complaint, however, according to an email I received, they had only treated Holly with Garlon XRT on February 28, 2019 in the adjacent park. I’m not an expert but I wish they would just stop applying any pesticides and herbicides. How can they be so confident that their use of pesticides during the winter months did not contribute to the decline of the honey bees?
At that point, my mom was ready to give up. A lot of hope and work goes into maintaining these hives, and when you’ve given it your all, it’s pretty discouraging to have that kind of outcome.
I wasn’t quite ready to give up yet, mainly because I need honey for my peanut sauce dressing and I refuse to eat any other honey than our own. 😉 I wasn’t keen on buying a hive from someone I don’t know though. I really just wanted to catch a swarm. But that’s easier said than done. First of all, you have to be on stand by at any given time. Secondly, there’s a list of swarm catchers that have seniority and I’m not one of them. Thirdly, Swan Lake Sanctuary was calling dibs on their lost swarm. Hahaha. It really was just all wishful thinking.
Funny enough though, throughout last week we’ve been noticing a few honeybees at our old hives. We had left some frames with traces of honey inside. It was a long shot but my mom seemed to think, we might be able to attract scout bees. On Sunday May 19, as she was heading out, she confidently quipped, “I bet we’ll get a swarm to fly right in today. Call me when that happens ok?!” Yeah whatever mom.
At about 2pm something buzzed me back to reality. I took one look outside and I couldn’t believe it. Right above our old hives, there was a swarm in the air. Hallelujah! It took about another 30 minutes until they were all inside. Honestly, it couldn’t have gone smoother. I didn’t even have to suit up! They chose our hive as their home. What are the chances of that happening?!
What’s amazing about a swarm? When they outgrow their old home, scout bees will search for a suitable new home. When they find one, they report back to the others that are hanging out with the queen at a temporary location. They then collectively decide on the best option and head to the new location. Is that not some pretty amazing communication? Also, swarms are not dangerous. I was standing in one the entire time, and they completely ignored me.
Now that I have bees again, stay tuned for more updates coming shortly!