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An Ontario Beekeeper's Journal: Battling Loss and Rebuilding

: As the sun set on 2022, my beekeeping journey took a somber turn. Two hives were lost right before Christmas, casting a shadow over the start of the bee season. Little did I know that 2023 would bring more heartache as hive after hive slowly succumbed to an unrelenting fate. By the end of March, they were all gone, leaving me devastated and searching for answers.

Weathering the Storm: Seeking solace and understanding, I reached out to fellow local beekeepers. To my surprise, we all agreed on one common culprit: the weather. Yes, weather played a pivotal role in our collective beekeeping struggles. Despite our best efforts – feeding, medicating, and ensuring an abundance of honey – the bees could not withstand the harsh conditions.

A Grim Discovery: As I meticulously examined the remnants of my hives, a stark reality emerged. Plenty of honey remained, bees huddled together within the hive, but the rest lay lifeless at the bottom. It was a gut-wrenching sight that left me pondering the future of my beekeeping journey.

Resilience and Renewal: But in the face of adversity, beekeepers persevere. I decided to start anew, placing my first package of bees from Europe into a meticulously prepared box in April. Then, by the end of the same month, three more nucs joined the ranks. These nucs, equipped with four frames and an established queen, brought a glimmer of hope. With an ample supply of honey on hand, the new colonies were off to a promising start.

A Careful Approach: To ensure their well-being, I medicated the bees during their first month in their new homes. It was as much for my peace of mind as for their health. Slowly but surely, I began adding supers to the hives. So far, the progress has been encouraging, with around 160 pounds of honey harvested, and another hive awaiting inspection and extraction.

The Importance of Vigilance: My beekeeping journey is far from solitary. A trusted beekeeper friend is set to visit, and together, we'll go through the hives, checking for mites and providing medication as needed. It's essential to note that this type of medication should never find its way into the supers, ensuring the honey remains pure and uncontaminated.

As I reflect on the trials and tribulations of this beekeeping season, I am reminded of the resilience that defines both bees and their keepers. Losses may be devastating, but they also serve as a powerful motivator to rebuild, adapt, and continue the essential work of nurturing and protecting these incredible pollinators. Onward and upward, my beekeeping journey continues, a testament to the unwavering commitment to the world of bees.

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