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Still beekeeping after all

Still beekeeping after all

Again it has been quite a long time since I have updated this blog. A lot has happened in between the last post and this one. One thing is certain though, I am still a keeper of bees, a large amount of bees.

eggs on frame
The bees did well through the winter and although I did have some early losses due to the fact that Vancouver had one of the driest and hottest summers and fall on record, we went into winter with what i thought were healthy strong hives I guess the dry weather didn't help the bees when it came to collecting nectar as without the rainfall there was little late summer or fall blooms. By the time spring came around we had lost over 50 % of our hives to due to starvation or what I think was varroa overload. I know that I should have been on top of it with the starvation losses as that is something that can be avoided with winter feeding but there was another blow that got dealt just before Christmas. I was having a bit of pain when swallowing so sought out professional help and after a few tests and annoying scopes down my nasal passages I was diagnosed with Squamous Cell Carcinoma. 
radiation treatment
Cancer, not a word you want to hear ever as it brings with it visions of extreme sickness and death. My doctors assured me that my type of Cancer had a very high rate of response to treatment and that I could be using the "cured" word soon. I am so thankful that I live in a country where there is a socialized medical system. I was quickly set up at the BC Cancer Agency in Vancouver and started my 8 week treatment plan of radiation and chemotherapy. Radiation was everyday and Chemo was 1 time at the beginning, middle and end of the 8 weeks. The care and compassion that i received from the doctors, nurses and staff at the Cancer Agency was beyond amazing and I don't think I would have been able to get through it if they didn't do such a great job. I am now finished treatment and back on the mend. I lost a lot of weight and have a few side effects that I have been told will fade with time. Although i am sure that the cancer is gone, i will not find out even if the cancer is in remission until June and then they don't give you the all clear until 5 years of remission. I thought about the bees a lot during this time and what they have provided for me as far as an emotional connection to them and the people I have met via bees. The bees have really changed me and how I look at the world. Having Cancer and going through the treatment just pushed it up a notch. Life is short and uncertain so it must be lived with people and ideas that make you happy. I have decided that bees make me happy. That being said I have ramped up my beekeeping and expanded to double my hives this spring with new packages and splits. I hope by the time fall hits that I will have tripled my hive count from last season. Although with more hives comes more work with the experience gained over the last 6 years inspections have become much easier and quicker while still enjoying the fascinating life of the bees. Perhaps one day beekeeping can be more than an obsessive hobby. 
eastside flea booth
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1 comment

  • Steve,

    How great to learn the story of East Van Bees. I’ve seen a few shirts and your honey around town and how great to realize that is your initiative. We met a few years back, actually I think you attended a workshop in our backyard a bunch of years ago. My partners name is Anya and she used to be active in the bee group in Village Vancouver….and it might have been our observation hive you saw way back when. If so how great to see what has come of those efforts.

    We haven’t had bees for a few years now as we had twins 5 1/2 years ago and that has been all encompassing….until now. We’re hoping to get a hive or two going this year, and I’ve been doing some reading on swarm trapping. I saw your name mentioned on one of the sites that describes a swarm trap, and I’m just wondering if you’d had much success in your swarm capture efforts.

    Any insights appreciated.



    Steve McAdam

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