A good day in the bees

Friends at Tsuut’ina Nation Apiaries, just outside Calgary, invited me to visit their main apiary today. The indigenous bee project was started by Chief Lee Crowchild two years ago. While I visited, the Tsuut’ina beekeepers worked 35 hives at this bee yard. These hives all started as packages in late April. The honey bees, housed in new equipment, have been drawing a lot of comb, but are growing rapidly. Second brood chambers were added about ten days ago. Those chambers were all foundation, though a drawn comb was brought up from the lower chamber for each. I was impressed with how uniform and generally strong the colonies are and how much new wax they have created.

The bees were pleasant. I had just one sting (on my hand) and it happened on the last hive. You can see, in the video above, that the bees were as gentle as kittens while I sat among them. The apiary is in a wooded area on Tsuut’ina Nation, not far from the Rocky Mountains. Bears abound, hence the tall fence that surrounds the bee yard.

The colonies are booming, filling their boxes with honey, pollen, and brood. The first honey supers were put on today, so I was happy to be able to participate in this exciting event.  The main flow is just starting and, weather permitting, will last about six weeks. With good conditions and just a touch of luck, the Tsuut’ina colonies should each make over 100 pounds of honey.

Sharon, one of the Tsuut’ina beekeepers, is checking for queen quality, hive strength, and adding honey supers. The bees are still drawing foundation in the second broods, but it was still time to put on the first honey supers.

About Ron Miksha

Ron Miksha is a geophysicist who also does a bit of science writing and blogging. Ron has worked as a radio broadcaster, a beekeeper, and is based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He has written two books, dozens of magazine and journal articles, and complements his first book, Bad Beekeeping, with a popular blog at www.badbeekeepingblog.com. Ron wrote his most recent book, The Mountain Mystery, for everyone who has looked at a mountain and wondered what miracles of nature set it upon the landscape. For more about Ron, including some cool pictures taken when he was a teenager, please check Ron's site: miksha.com.
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3 Responses to A good day in the bees

  1. Now THAT’s a Bear Fence! All those brand new hives are so pretty and busy!! (Sure glad you checked your hat first Ron; ) Oh yeah, and Nice Mocs, by the way!: )

    Like

    • Ron Miksha says:

      You should see the bears in this area. An electric fence is also being placed on the perimeter of the bear fence.
      I like my moccasins. They were a gift from the Tsuut’ina people to me. I wear them all the time, except if it’s too muddy. But they are light, form-fitting, and comfortable. They work especially well with my footdrop and weak ankles from my motor neuron disease.

      Liked by 1 person

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