Call-Out for New Members AND Neonic Comment Period in Ontario

We are accepting applications for new members for the 2015 season. Please check out our call-out at Santropol Roulant’s website to apply!

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Also, the Ontario government is holding a public comment period on a proposed regulation to reduce neonicotinoid use in Ontario. The regulatinon is called “Pollinator Health: A Proposal for Enhancing Pollinator Health and Reducing the Use of Neonicotinoid Pesticides in Ontario.” its purpose is to reduce the use of seeds treated with neonicotinoids in 2015; to govern the use of neonicotinoid treated corn and soybean seed, and to create a Pollinator Health Action Plan.

You can comment on this regulation here. The public comment period runs until Sunday, Jan 25. If you think this is an important issue, have your voice heard!

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Beekeeping in Alaska: Maggie and Phil

Stephanie, a returning member of the collective, is in Alaska for the summer and investigating beekeeping in the North while she’s there. 

Last week I met two beekeepers living in Fairbanks, Alaska. Maggie and Phil live in a dry cabin (a cabin with no running water) near the Tanana River. Originally from Montana, they’ve been in Fairbanks for about a year.

This year is Maggie and Phil’s first year keeping bees, and they love it. Maggie said she was very nervous at first – that she would harm her bees, or that they would swarm. She loves the relationship she’s developed as a beekeeper with her hive.

Bees 2 - Maggie and Phil

Maggie’s dad had a few hives while she was growing up, and she’s been curious about bees ever since. She took a beekeeping class in the early spring that gave her the confidence to have her own hive this summer. Maggie and Phil ordered 4lbs of Russian honeybees from California. They’re renting the equipment from the Interior Alaska Beekeepers Association.

Beekeeping in Alaska is challenging! Bees rarely survive the winter in Fairbanks, which is long, cold and dark. The last nectar flow happens in early August, and the first snow falls by the end of September. Winter temperatures average from -25 to -35°C, but can drop as low as -60°C. Beekeepers typically start a new hive every spring.

Bees 1 - Hive

Another unexpected challenge this year is the weather. Fairbanks is usually hot and dry in the summer, but June 2014 was the wettest on record in more than 100 years. While I was visiting, the Tanana River was under flood warning so Maggie and Phil stacked their hive on top of pallets. The river held this time and the bees stayed high and dry!

Photo by Will Peterson