If You Plant It, They Will Come

If You Plant It, They Will Come

Come Get Buzzed! 🐝

Patio season is upon us and our friends at Little Brown Jug brew a magnificent Golden Ale made with the finest hops and barley, and you guessed it, John Russell Honey.

MAY 29th Little Brown Jug is hosting the first annual Manitoba Honeybee Day at their brewery & taproom, at 336 William. This event runs from 11am to 9pm, and will feature a honey tasting table, a live observation hive, an equipment display, and a pile of us beekeepers to answer any questions you may have about honey, bees, and the crucial role they play in Manitoba agriculture. Food trucks, live entertainment, and the best beer brewed in Manitoba. Come pop by and check out the bees! This is a public event and there is no admission.

Are we the bad guys?

Well…..no… No we are not. However, honeybees are getting some heat in media and in research circles. Honeybees seem to be doing better, as colony numbers are high in North America. No longer the underdog 🌭, a new focus is on wild pollinators and their decimated populations and full out extinction of species' is ringing alarm bells. The media loves a good train wreck and this one is no different.

You will notice this newsletter issue focuses on that plight, and you will be reading some material that throws some shade on our honeybee friends. Let me clarify for you however that honeybees are needed, beneficial, and crucial to our own well-being. The threat honeybees pose to wild pollinators in terms of hogging all the flowers for themselves can be mitigated and controlled. We also need to focus on identifying and changing behavior and practices humans do to assist wild pollinator populations like we did with honeybees.

When colony collapse was happening we mustered funding, and research hours and the scientific community moved mountains to address it. We identified causes, and changed practices, and honeybee populations are not in the death spiral but are on the rebound. We can’t seem to produce as much honey as before, but keeping the bees alive is no longer a "panic mode" situation.

Now, we need to put some of this proven problem-solving energy in to wild pollinators, and securing the ecosystems and food chains that are fading to black. Rampant use of insecticides, and habitat loss need to be taken seriously.

Solutions that lead to long term sustainability need to be supported, and implemented and done NOW, not in some vague time frame down the road.

The best part is that everyone can pitch in and now is the time of year to make an impact.

Plant a plant. A tree. A bush, shrub, flowering grass, be it annual, perennial, and choose it from our list, available on request (soon to be downloadable!) by emailing me at honeyb@mymts.net

If you plant it, they will come. If you provide water, more will come and more often. We’ve saved the day before, and we will do it again. A bucket is filled one raindrop at a time, so lend a hand and do some good.

The bees look good, but we really need some sun. It’s early, so there’s not much to report on that front. I’ll be rescuing bumblebees again this year, so call me if you can’t seem to live alongside them. I’m going back into the field to play in the rain and scout out some new yards.

In the meantime, enjoy the spring! Mind you, cut the dandelions AFTER they bloom please, you don’t need to slam shut the sphincter when you see yellow on your lawn. Wait until they turn before mowing them down.

Warm regards,

John Russell

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