Mourning with those who Mourn

I had a very sad note this week from the Vancouver Island Beekeeping club. They put out a newsletter called the Bee Line. I wanted to share this part of the article with you.

Last month I attended a meeting in Duncan with the Valley Beekeepers. They requested a meeting with Paul van estendorp to discuss the need for support for beekeepers that suffered huge losses this winter.

Under these conditions, support is necessary to make it viable to be a honey bee producer on the Vancouver Island. Trust me; this was not a very pleasant get together. There were about forty people in the room, and one by one they told their crushing stories of bee loss. I was stunned to hear those that wintered down over 300 colonies, and by January all but about 60 remain wintered 30 and lost all, wintered 175 and have 19 left, wintered 22 and have 3. Wintered 12 and have 1. There were tears in the room, and it was well over an hour to before all had told the facts of their loss. Losses in that room were very close to 1000 colonies and maybe 159 remain. You don’t need a percentage, or a dollar sign to see the devastating costs over the past several months.

There was no pattern to the losses, as all beekeepers treatments were varied, but timely and according to best practises. All reported colonies going into late summer/early fall with abundant bees with good stores of pollen and honey. By early winter losses were starting to show, and by early February the devastation was pronounced.

This story breaks my heart. I have spoken to several beekeepers on this island and they have had similar losses though not to the extent and volume of these beekeepers, as the ones on Pender are hobbyists. Though the sadness carries over no matter if you lose one colony or one hundred.

The honeybee loss has struck a chord with the media as well. The Times Colonist has featured a couple articles. CBC has had a special on the bee loss and everyone has an opinion on it that I’ve talked to here.

In the meantime, the enthusiasm for honeybees is also increasing steadily. I’ve had more people coming into my work, asking if I have honey yet. (Which I do not, thank you for your inquiries.) And I’ve received more interesting links to honeybees. Check this one out! Her name is Agathena Dyck and she does a lot of art work with bees.


The beauty that bees are capable of just by doing what they know, being who they are, this is what amazes me about honeybees. Somehow honeybees have carved out an existence complimenting their environment. It frustrates me that humans have not figured out a way to do this. We are more of a smash ‘n grab species. Why?? I feel like I am repeating David Lee Murphy cliche “Why can’t we all just get along?”

I hate to despair or bring anyone down, but 90% bee loss is horrific and terrifying. So a small challenge, I urge you to support your local honey producers as they are definitely struggling and any purchase of honey or beeswax from a local producer is going to help the economy and increase the number of people willing to keep bees and invest in this incredible species!

Thanks for reading and Happy Saturday!

About Amanda

Living a simple quiet life on the Gulf Islands, BC.

2 Thoughts on “Mourning with those who Mourn

  1. margaret smoker on 13 March, 2010 at 7:26 pm said:

    I have just caught up on your blog as we have been away in Winnipeg. I think you should keep up with your blog and share your wonderful insights into life as a beekeeper, woman, and wife.

  2. Thank you for the feedback. I appreciate it!

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