As I write this, it is a cold and damp Monday morning, a weekend of freezing rain just past. One more week, the newspaper says, until a "glorious warm spring" starts up properly. So, one more week to fix the leak in the fuel tank of the bee truck, finish building bee equipment and scratch a few items off the Honeydo list. A week ago I finished changes to the honey extracting line and put it all back together - a very important thing to have ready.
Next up is making a honey crop. The winter has been a little hard on the bees, but much better than last winter. I've got a much better handle on the mite (Varroa) levels and the bees seem healthy. Once the glorious warm spring actually arrives and the bees can start flying regularly, collecting pollen from the willow, maples, coltsfoot and spring bulbs. When dandelions come out they get their first significant nectar flow (nectar is evaporated in the beehive and becomes honey). I am eagerly awaiting the warmth as are all of my fellow Canadians. However, I spent 3 months in Tasmania's gorgeous climate this winter though, and did not endure as much cold.
While in Tasmania I worked for the Tasmanian Honey Company, and had a great time working and learning alongside not only Australians, but also Lithuanian, Tiawanese, Italian and Brazilian beekeepers. I wasn't expecting the cultural diversity, but it was really interesting and provided new perspectives on many topics of discussion. There are also a bunch of new ideas I picked up there, some I can try this year and some that are for a few years down the road. I am excited to get back into my Canadian beekeeping, and also to find an apprentice beekeeper to help me out!!