After a quick, but exciting trip down the west coast USA, we drove into Oracle AZ around 11:30am, too early to sign in at the YMCA Retreat Centre. So, we headed out to the Arizona Trail head, not more than 10kms from the YMCA. We walked through a prickly pear forest and low shrub brush toward a large rock outcropping. We climbed up and found, to my astonishment, the entrance of a wild colony of bees zooming in and out of their boulder nest. This seemed a good omen, and we hiked on until we became sun burned and headed back to the Y.
Once we signed in to the Y, I met up with some interesting characters, of those Sam Comfort of NY. As we chatted, we heard a commotion from outside the conference center, and as we went outside, we heard that a swarm had landed just down the road. So, we went to have a look, surprised to see the bees swarming so early in the season, even for southern Arizona. The bees were angry and hungry, maybe a swarm from an unhealthy or starved colony, so the beekeeping suits came out and the bees were captured and re-hived in to a Top Bar Hive that Corwin Bell brought (from Eldorado Canyon, CO. www.backyardhive.com)
The opportunity to come to AZ, and to connect with Organic and Treatment Free beekeepers (treatment free including organic acids and essential oils) and see that they are making successful livings against all commercial recommendations of honey bee care reignited my passion for ABC Beess goals of building a resilient community of beekeepers in Alberta.