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

Just Posted

Pirko found guilty in the 2014 second-degree murder of Chris Ausman

A Kelowna jury found Steven Randy Pirko guilty of the second-degree murder

Grievance dismissed: Kelowna bus driver loses case after texting on job

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

UPDATE: Dog bitten by rattlesnake in West Kelowna “going to be OK”

The dog, Bella, is recovering after being bitten on a hike at Rose Valley Trails

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Sun and heat continue Saturday

Environment Canada forecasts highs of 30 C throughout the Okanagan Saturday

Kootnekoff: “Sorry, can’t help you.” Privacy as an excuse

How many times have you heard it? You ask for critical information… Continue reading

VIDEO: Horseback riding helps North Okanagan residents with special needs

North Okanagan Therapeutic Riding Association needs more volunteers to continue offering sessions

Gambler 500 hits Okanagan back roads

Hundreds of off road enthusiasts are rallying in the South Okanagan this… Continue reading

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

Teen stabbed after end-of-night limo dispute in downtown Vancouver

A young man, 19, is in serious condition following a dispute between two groups

Letter: Homeless need more than handouts

To the editor: Re: Solutions to homelessness I firmly believe that automation,… Continue reading

Letter: Drug addicts taking over downtown

To the editor: In regards to the current state of the City… Continue reading

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

Most Read