Wow! How did we get through that one?! With 2020 safely behind us, we begin to plan for Spring. For many of us, this is the time to plan our hives, order bees, and figure out where on our property we’re going to squeeze in just one more hive….
The Fall in the Portland area felt comparably mild this year– lots of sunny days that had the bees flying and still bringing in pollen. Our November meeting featured information from the research of Paul Stamets and his Fungi Perfecti team who collaborate with University of Washington researchers. The possibilities fungi hold for bee health are really exciting. They include increased capacity for bees to fight off viruses and best of all, high toxicity to mites. Hopefully, easy access to treatments and food additives will be available soon, especially as these products may appeal to beekeepers who are hesitant to use other types of mite treatments.
In December, Dewey Caron hosted a Zoom honey tasting. December is traditionally the month we gather and do a blind tasting of 30+ samples of PUB members’ honey samples and vote on our favorites. This year, not willing to completely give that up, the club opted to share samples of 5 different local and famous types of honey, and have Dewey walk us through how to appreciate each sample. Just like wine, there’s a universal language that can be used to describe honey. PUB members had a lot of fun learning how to really smell and taste the different honey samples. Some of the tastes and aromas included “leather”, “asphalt”, “coconut”, “marshmallow”, “spicy”, “hops”, and “licorice” or “anise” – sometimes for the same honey! Which just goes to show we’re each our own best judge, and it’s no wonder we all think our own honey is the very best of all.
I know it’s too early to feel nostalgic for 2020 – the bright light at the end of the tunnel is finally not an oncoming train – but I have to think we’ll look back on it at some point and think about what we came through and it will make us all the more grateful for what we have. And hopefully 2021 will have us hunched over frames, shoulder to shoulder, looking for that ever-elusive Queen.