Unfortunately, this post from three years ago is all too timely today, in August 2018. After record-breaking heat throughout the west, forests burst into flame, and smoke has filled the air. Our thoughts are especially with the folks in California and BC who are in the midst of one of their worst fire seasons ever.
For beekeepers, what follows is a bit about fires, smoke, and bees. When I wrote this three years ago, I had no bees in the backyard. Now I do. The effect of this year’s heavy smoke is noticeable – the flight from the hives is just one-third to one-half of what it was a few days ago when there was no smoke.
My home town – Calgary – is under a smoke advisory. The sky is hazy with smelly gray smoke from the trees, grass, and homes that are on fire down in Washington state.
Those fires are about 700 kilometres (500 miles) away and on the other side of the Rockies, but you can see from the picture that the smoke has drifted to us. Considering the large number of fires in the drought-stricken Pacific Northwest and coastal areas, we have been lucky that the smoke has avoided us until today.
I was wondering what effect such smoke has on honey bees. Here at home, I see no bugs of any sort out this morning. A few days ago, they were really active, but they seem to have gone into hiding. I am not at the moment near any apiaries, so I can’t comment directly…
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