The reason we don’t raise April queens in Alberta

It snowed again. After weeks of sweet weather, balmy enough for T-shirts, the bees quit hauling pollen and focused on hibernation.  This is the reason so few queens are bred in Canada.  We can do it, but freaky weather gets in the way. Someday, I’m sure, there will be a big dome over my hometown of Calgary. Inside, there will be banana bushes and fig vines. Somewhere in our dome, a Drone Congregation Area will develop and our young queens will find their way to it.  Meanwhile, we are dealing with fresh snow and chilly temperatures. I’m glad that we weren’t expecting mating weather.

Coincidental to the April 28 blizzard, a few hundred honey bee packages arrived in Calgary from New Zealand. A large group of bees went to our neighbours at Tsuut’ina Nation, the rest (over 200 packages) are going to some of Calgary’s 400 active beekeepers, via the Calgary and District Beekeepers’ Association.  Regardless the snowstorm we had overnight, packages being installed now will do just fine.  In a few days, pollen will be flowing and all the snowflakes will melt into water for future flowers’ nectar.

About Ron Miksha

Ron Miksha is a bee ecologist working at the University of Calgary. He is also a geophysicist and does a bit of science writing and blogging. Ron has worked as a radio broadcaster, a beekeeper, and Earth scientist. (Ask him about seismic waves.) He's based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
This entry was posted in Beekeeping, Climate and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The reason we don’t raise April queens in Alberta

  1. Emily Scott says:

    Wow, that photo brings home just how different your beekeeping challenges are. Snow is but a distant memory here in Cornwall – I thought it was bad enough having a few hail storms last month!


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