Bee keeper Orlando Robertson inspects a screen from one of his hives on Thursday, March 21. (Jim Elliot/Salmon Arm Observer)

Video: Shuswap home to thriving community of beekeepers

Apiary operators share details about how they keep their hives healthy

Spring has just arrived and the Shuswap’s fields and gardens will soon be buzzing with bees. Many of those bees make their home in hives maintained by local beekeepers.

As winter drew to a close, beekeepers inspected their hives to see how they had fared in the cold temperatures. The news was good at Orlando Robertson’s apiary in Grindrod, one of several he maintains around the Shuswap and in Ashcroft. A pair of Robertson’s best hives, Robertson said they yielded 60 lbs. of honey each while still leaving plenty for the bees.

Read More: UBC study shows honey bees can help monitor pollution in cities

Read More: Vernon beekeeper concerned after spike of deaths in bee population

Robertson sells the honey his bees produce and also provides it to his dad’s winery where it is made into organic mead. Along with the honey, Robertson sells nucleus colonies, wooden hives stocked with a small population of bees, which beekeepers use to start off apiaries of their own.

Robertson said there is lots of interest in beekeeping in the area with his nucleus colonies selling well to both new and established beekeepers. He said many new beekeepers are devastated when their hives do not survive through the winter. His own first hive did not survive.

“If you’ve got live stock you’ve got dead stock,” Robertson of the inevitable loss of some bees.

A myriad of conditions including, temperature, humidity, availability of food and prevalence of parasitic mites all affect bees prospects for survival.

Attentively watching as Robertson pulled the tops off the hives and inspected them to see if colonies had to be merged were hobbyist beekeepers Holly Farris and Ernie Meier. Farris and Meier lost a large proportion of their bees over the winter but say they enjoy keeping the bees and the small amount of honey they were able to harvest last Summer.

Read More: Get involved in the Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count

Read More: International bee symposium to be held in Kelowna

Farris said she has managed to not get stung the entire time she has keeping bees, habitually wearing a protective suit.

As the bees feed on blooming plants, Robertson said those whose properties are near apiaries or natural bee hives can help the bees by not eradicating dandelions and other flowering plants.

There is a thriving community of beekeepers in the Shuswap who share knowledge through a social media group and through meetings and seminars. A seminar is being held at Buckerfield’s in Salmon Arm by Bill Stagg from Sweet Acres Apiaries on March 30 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

A look back at Kelowna’s past

Check out this historic photo of Kelowna from the early 1900s

40 Under 40: Brian Stephenson

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce has launched its “40 Under Forty” for 2020

Morning Start: Naps could save your life

Your morning start for Wednesday, July 9, 2020

Building to begin on Okanagan Rail Trail washroom

Project starts Monday, July 13, in Coldstream between Westkal Road and Kickwillie Loop

Pedestrian numbers skyrocket on car free Bernard Avenue

Pedestrian traffic more than doubled July 1 to July 7 compared to 2019 numbers

The pandemic is widening Canada’s workplace gender gap

Gender pay gap is incentivizing fathers to work while mothers watch children, a new B.C. study has found

Ex-Okanagan Mountie forfeits 20 days’ pay after sexual misconduct review

A former Vernon RCMP constable made sexual comments, grabbed genitals of male officer in two incidents 10 years ago

Security guard assaulted in Kamloops park thanks police, public for quick arrest

Glen Warner, 71, was attacked on July 2 by a man who was asked by Warner to not smoke

After slow start, Summerland sees more tourism activity

Majority of visitors come from within British Columbia

EDITORIAL: Accommodating Okanagan fruit pickers

Campsite for agricultural workers to open in Summerland

COLUMN: A July update from MP Gray

Kelowna-Lake Country MP Tracy Gray’s column

Deer and moose die after being chased by dogs in South Okanagan

BC conservation officers are asking the public to control their pets

3 people dead in Prince George motel fire

Fire personnel believe the blaze was suspicious although investigation in early stages

B.C. sets terms to review police, mental health, race relations

MLAs to recommend Police Act changes by May 2021

Most Read