President’s Message – May 19, 2018

The warm weather since late April across BC has had its two-edge effect: certainly improving conditions for bees, but also triggering floods as above-average snowpacks melt quickly. Bee colonies that were able to survive the long winter have recovered remarkably. I have just returned from an interesting expedition, of introducing beekeeping and transporting 10 nucleus colonies to Fort Chipewyan (northern Alberta).. by small plane from Fort McMurray. Lots of things could have had glitches, but all went well.

There are so many discouraging stories in the global news: conflict, violence, pompous belligerence, dishonesty, abuse of power, human-generated tragedy (not to mention accidents and natural disasters). I’m glad we’re involved in beekeeping: whether as a business, an interest, a science, an uplifting, inspiring craft. Even with the challenges, it has so many positives. If we’re going to leave a mark in the world, let it be a positive one: and bees are a good way to accomplish that.

Our BCHPA March meeting in Kamloops by all measures I’ve heard was a great success: thanks Dan Mawson for arranging the speakers as well as continuing with a professional audio-visual service (speaker presentations coming soon to the website). Ian Farber too, for arranging a new venue to accommodate our larger turnout of members, even for the business meeting! Treasurer Irene Tiampo confirmed that our association is in very good financial status, and we have embarked on some initiatives, guided by a Research Committee headed by Heather Higo, and with the talents and the experience of Ali McAfee, Liz Huxter and Gerry McKee. Secretary Christina Rosema quickly generated the minutes (included in this issue perhaps) where you’ll find reports by CHC Rep Stan Reist, of the complications and challenges to the national bee industry, and notice of the annual meeting being arranged by Jeff Lee and the host group Capital region Beekeepers in Victoria, Friday October 26 through Sunday Oct 28. We may also hold a course for Honey Judging on the Thursday 25 afternoon, so if that interests you keep the date open.

I missed updating a message on our website immediately after the Kamloops semi-annual meeting. Perhaps it was my distraction from becoming a grandfather (my son Sheldon and his wife Selina had a girl: Thalia) in December. Connie and I took the opportunity to visit them in Vancouver after the meeting.  Since then there have been many messages exchanged in relation to BCHPA involvement research: 1) a study of foulbrood, using the new tools of molecular biology. This involves YOU: one of the contributions of BCHPA members is to FIND the “needles in the haystack” of foulbrood-infected colonies, for the study to use. In this issue and on our website (see “Got foulbrood?”) you will find links for how to REPORT your search effort and MAIL samples of suspected foulbrood, to NBDC National Bee Diagnostic Lab in Beaverlodge Alberta. Even if you think it is “regular” foulbrood, please send it in: it may have special properties (like resistance to antibiotics) that are not obvious. An optional addition to your foulbrood sample would be digital photos showing several dead larvae in their cells, and the brood pattern of the whole comb. The photos can be emailed to with the same date and identity number you used for your mailed-in sample. The second research effort initiated by BCHPA is a study of the health of honey bee colonies involved in blueberry pollination. You may have heard or seen press articles about this. Unfortunately, some of these cast the issue as a battle between beekeepers and berry growers. We never intended that. It has always been a search for the validity of serious concerns of beekeepers of thousands of colonies: evidence to find answers and solution: the win-win result. BCHPA has many partners in this, including the Blueberry Council.

May 29 is Day of the Honey Bee, AND BCHPA has been invited to attend at the BC Legislature for an announcement by Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham. Stay tuned, and generally try to find a way of promoting awareness of honey bees in your community, and ways that everyone can make the environment better for both bees and people. Some of our executive will be there, but I will be involved in introducing beekeeping to the community of Fort Chipewyan (why? It’s a great challenge, especially this year with such a cold spring. but why not! I’ll be able to report results later).  There is a lot to look forward to.  My Best Wishes to you and your bees for the upcoming summer. Bees be with you.

Kerry Clark, President

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