2021 - Reflection & Expansion Plans
A bee perspective of 2020
2020 has finally come to a close, and I know almost all of us are thankful for that!
2020 was not a great year for expansion. We had some significant losses in the spring, followed by the pandemic. We were also unable to source new bees from overseas due to COVID restrictions. There was even some bad news that hundreds of imported colonies had died in their cargo plane because they sat on the tarmac for too long. Beekeepers canadawide were having trouble getting supply. (Lack of bee imports during COVID-19)
The bees in our life had a good year. Ames started again with a small apiary in Brookside. Despite 50% winter losses we managed to bottle more honey than expected. Bee pests and diseases were very low and buildup was quick in the spring.
Brookside is a little more windy and wet than our previous bee fields, which can slow down honey production compared to places with gentler weather systems. But what can slow honey production down was actually a huge advantage in 2020. Most of Nova Scotia had a very hot and dry summer, while the bees in Brookside were thriving.
We also got excellent customer feedback on our 2020 honey, the Brookside honey was very popular and people seemed to love the light floral taste.
2021 - Our plans
Now that the holidays are behind us, we've been furiously planning for the coming season. We have decided to expand again with the opening of a second apiary in Beaverbank. You might remember we previously had an apiary there from 2016-2018. We have 2 locations open to us, and plan to scout them out over the next couple of weeks to make a final decision.
This year we are planning to order our bees from New Zealand. The sub-species we prefer are Carniolan Honey Bees. The reason we order from New Zealand (Arataki Bees) rather than sourcing our bees locally are twofold. New Zealand does not have the serious bee-pest Varroa destructor and secondly, local bees are not normally available till late spring while the Arataki bees arrive mid-April giving them more time to build up strength for the summer.
Finally, we are evaluating whether to again pursue Certified Naturally Grown certification. This certification is not widely used in Canada, which makes the certification process more difficult, but we think that there should be standards around natural beekeeping which the CNG certification provides.
That's the end of our update! Hope to see you all again as returning customers in 2021. All the best from Ames.