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.