April 13: Beekeeping Update - Starting a New Season

Beekeepers lifting frame covered in bees in front of hive

Hive in winter with snow aroundDue to Covid regulations, many volunteers were unable to participate in beekeeping in 2020. Nonetheless, with the help of a few dedicated volunteers, we managed to make it through another beekeeping season. We started the season in May 2020 with two hives. Sadly, one hive did not survive the winter months. Photos of the hive were sent to an experienced beekeeper who determined that the hive died of a high infestation of varroa mites. We have ordered two new hives, which will arrive in the middle of June. We eagerly await the new arrivals!

This year, spring has arrived earlier than in previous years. Our bees are already busy collecting pollen and taking care of the hive. The queen bee has started growing the colony. These are all good signs as we start the new season. Winter coverings will be removed in a week or so and a mite treatment given as soon as the weather permits.

Honeybee in a purple crocusIn spite of Covid restrictions, Vani was able to complete the Ontario Beekeepers Association course and her Grade 8 school project on beekeeping. In April, she gave an excellent presentation, explaining to her class her trials and triumphs building a hive, and maintaining the bees throughout the season. We are hoping Vani will remain on the bee team.

Interested in learning more about beekeeping? There are many beekeeping books on the market. Just name a few -- our most popular book among the team members is Beekeeping for Dummies. Another favourite is Natural Beekeeping by Ross Conrad. The Ontario Beekeepers Association (OBA) also offers an excellent introductory online beekeeping course: https://www.ontariobee.com/outreach/workshops/apiology101

With the new variants of Covid and lockdowns, it is difficult to say how the bee team will operate this season. Hopefully, the situation with Covid will improve, and we will be back to full set of volunteers by summer. In the meantime, keep on buzzing! Any questions? Contact ammatoronto@ammagroups.org

Beekeepers lifting frame covered in bees in front of hive