Dandelion Will Make You Wise

It’s May 17th in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and the spring season is on the cusp of becoming. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines “becoming” as to come into existence and to undergo change and development. Exhibit A: The first dandelion of 2011.

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Not the most astonishing video of honey bees on a flower, I know, but if you look closely, you might notice a few bees dragging their back legs over the pollen or even pushing the pollen down into their pollen baskets on said back legs. I recommend picking up a dandelion with bees on it to any new beekeeper. You’ll see things you haven’t seen before. I know I did.

We’re pulling the feeders from the hives now that the bees finally have something natural to chow down on. Both hives have a double-frame feeder installed. Once those feeders are empty, they’re gone. Then we’ll add a medium super to each hive, perhaps to make a split, though we’re not sure when to do that. Which reminds me…

The worst thing about beekeeping in Newfoundland is the near total absence of beekeepers. I know one experienced beekeeper I can call or email for consultation two or three times a year, and that’s about it (without becoming a nuisance to him). I can read my beekeeping books and talk to the one other novice beekeeper I know in Newfoundland, but none of that brings order to the chaos and confusion that often takes root when I realize: “I don’t know what I’m doing,” or when to do it or how to do it. Not like an experienced beekeeper who would be able to advise me after even a brief look at our hives. Novice beekeepers who can meet with experienced beekeepers have it good. Newfoundland is desperate for a beekeeping association. At least I am.

But anyway, I’m glad to see the dandelions are finally coming around. We’ve been waiting a long time for this.

JANUARY 28, 2016: A beekeeping association for Newfoundland now exists: NLBKA.