The 2019 beekeeping season was a rough one for many Alberta beekeepers.
It was a cold, wet and tough honey season. The weather was extremely cold for overwintering hives during the 2018 to 2019 winter months, which was hard on the bees. Then once spring came, it brought more cool and wet weather that gave the bees very few good flying days and limited the blooms they had access to.
In the summer months, we also experienced a long lull between the dandelion flow and the beginning of the main flow with alfalfa and canola. Those were a tough few weeks for the bees as the hives were built up to their maximum population with little nectar sources in site.
Eventually the main flow did arrived, but not until mid-July for most. When it came, it was quick! And, honey production in Alberta was down 40-50% in the 2019 beekeeping season. This was one of the toughest seasons to manage a hive.
August also brought many calls about swarms, which was very unusual for that time of year.
In September, registered beekeepers received notice from the Alberta Apicultrist that varroa mites counts were very high in the fall, and they offered recommendations on treatements.
We wrapped up our hives as usual for the winter with the hopes they thrive in the spring. Many had some weak hives and strong hives, but only time will tell how they do. Every year brings a different experience for beekeepers, and no two years are the same. As beekeepers, we are always learning something new. Take a look back at our 2019 season here.
We appreciate your business online and in our Edmonton store, and we look forward to supporting you in 2020. Thank you for following us on social media and joining us at Meet The Beekeeper!
Drop by our Edmonton store when you are planning your 2020 season, and if you haven’t ordered your 2020 Bees yet, order now. Our Meet the Beekeeper Field Days will resume in April 2020.
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If you are a beginner beekeeper, knowing if there are enough honey stores can be hard to figure out on your very first overwintered hive check. The simplest way to check if there are enough stores is to gently lift your hive from the bottom board (without disturbing the hive too much). If it is very light and easy to lift, you DO NOT have enough stores.