The new year has finally arrived and we have been furiously preparing for the upcoming season. Assembling equipment, working with suppliers, exploring markets out of province.
Tasha and I will soon be preparing the apiary site for the hives, which will involve some grading with the tractor and a delivery of crushed stone. I am currently working on gluing/nailing the hives, next step will be staining. Any ideas for colors? I am considering pastel yellow and blue, but maybe I’ll end up getting whatever is on-sale. Our bee orders are in and we are anxiously awaiting word that it’s time to pick them up! Not before the hives are ready though.
There has been a few interesting pieces of news in the Honey and Bee world lately. First of all I was very excited to see that the University of Guelph is in the news again for discovering a “non-antibiotic” treatment for American Foulbrood (an incurable honey bee disease). It’s in the beginning stages, but very exciting;
Last winter (2013/2014) was a difficult one for us Nova Scotia beekeepers. There were losses upwards of 40% for many of us. Much of this was likely due to the extended cold weather, but the multi-tiered threat of Varroa Mite and Nosema combined with extended time in the hive is not to be underestimated. Not to mention the effects neonicotinoid and other pesticides have on the hive.
The Canadian Honey Council had this to say in this August 2014 newsletter;
The health of the world’s bee populations is a factor which cannot
be ignored. It is only one of many factors placing increasing stress upon
global agricultural production. It is not merely a question of the quantity,
but also the quality of global food supplies. While pollination by honey
bees accounts for 1/3 of total agricultural production, it is a much higher
percentage of anti-oxidant rich, phyto-chemical foods, including almonds,
oranges, apples, blueberries, cranberries, etc., which are at stake. The health
of bees is inextricably integrated with the health of humanity.
For those of you who not only love and want to protect our bees, but also cherish the honey they produce. There was some other interesting news south of the border. Several people were jailed and one was fined over $3M USD for their role in the illegal import and sale of low-quality Chinese honey into the United States. Some called it the “largest food fraud in US history” the report said.
So I think the lesson here for everyone is to be more selective of the products we buy. Honey or otherwise. There’s always someone out there trying to make a dollar by duping us consumers.
It’s not difficult to see why this would happen. Honey prices are at record highs, and droughts last year in Brazil and Argentina have cut output dramatically.
The good news is that the coming year is filled with promise. Ourselves and other beekeepers are expanding. Public awareness of these issues is growing every day.
People love to by local, which is why we are excited in 2015 to be able to offer our Nova Scotia Natural Wildflower Honey! No pesticides, large profiteering corporations, just good old-fashioned hard work and innovation.