The Kootenay Bee Project
The main objective is to find, select and breed bees that would thrive in our severe climate naturally without any treatment.
We are in the mountains, our winters are long (5-6 months), not very cold (usually stays few degrees below 0) and very wet and humid.
And yes, we are in a snow belt! Snow usually stays till late March or April.
Springs and falls have lots of cool (cold) mornings and evenings with fog (mist) and rain.
Our summers are usually hot with temperatures reaching 35 degrees at times. Read more here...
We started our operations with only one hive with New Zealand Carniolan bees. Unfortunately it didn't survive it's first Kootenay winter.
In 2013 we brought 2 nucs from Flying Dutchman in Nanaimo. The strain of bees is unknown. We don't like how they winter, the cluster is big, consume lots of food. There is only one hive left. The other one died during 2015 winter, they run out of food.
In 2016 we brought 7 more nucs from Liz and Terry Huxter , Kettle Valley Queens, Grand Forks. Read more here...
We are located in the West Kootenays in Lardeau River Valley. Reed more...
Our Philosophy or a Few Simple Steps to Succeed in Beekeeping
- All beekeeping is local - make sure your bees are adapted to your local climate. If they are not, give them sufficient time to adapt, they will.
- Success in beekeeping means a pure joy of keeping bees. It is not about money and productivity.
- Keep bees away from cities/towns and modern agriculture. Forest and wilderness is where they want to be, it's their home. Mono-culture honey and pollen is bad for the bees and you.
- Do not feed your bees with sugar unless in emergency. They must eat honey and pollen. Make sure you leave enough honey and pollen for them for the winter.
- A typical commercial standard Langstroth hive is wrong. Switch to Warre hives. Log hives are even better.
- Beehive frames and foundations are the worst inventions of modern beekeeping, stay away from them.
- All beekeeping must be treatment-free, you want strong bees that will survive. They have survived and thrived for 60 million years before us.
- Keep your bees off the ground, at least 6-8 feet.
- Let your bees swarm, it's their natural way of reproduction.
- Keep your hives small. A Warre hive with only three boxes is all you need. There is a very interesting study available here.