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Vernon News

Have you noticed that buzzing sound in the Okanagan?

Honey bees enjoying the blooms at Arlo's Honey Farm in Kelowna, March 11, 2016.
Image Credit: Helen Kennedy

VERNON - It looks like spring in the Okanagan, and it sounds like it too.

Bees and wasps are buzzing about earlier than usual due to the warm weather.

Kelowna honey bee farmer Helen Kennedy says the colony has been out and about for a while now.

“Right now they’re into our crocuses, which have started to bloom, and the hazelnuts and pussy willows,” Kennedy says.

Normally, the bees tend to come out closer to the end of March, Kennedy says. But with mild weather, and even some high temperature records, she says their season has been triggered early. Generally, they emerge when the weather climbs above 5 Celsius. Last year's season started with an unusually early honey flow, but dried up for producers across the North and Central Okanagan. 

With a substantial snowpack in the hills and rain in the long-term forecast, Kennedy says chances are good there will be lots of forage for the bees this summer and potentially a very good year for honey.

Meanwhile, Arte Overbey with Bugman Pest Control says they’re already receiving dozens of calls for another buzzing insect: wasps.

“We’ve had other years like this where it’s early. It just happens when it happens,” Overbey says.

If you come across a wasp, it’s probably a queen coming out of hibernation. Only the queens survive the winter, he says.

“Since it’s warm out, it triggers the queens to leave the hives and find new locations,” he says.

The best thing to do if you find one in your home, Overbey says, is to just open a window and let it fly out.

“Now’s not the time for treatment, it’s not going to do any good,” he says.

While people may not like having wasps around — and you can certainly call the Bugman to help you out with that — Overbey says there’s definitely a place for them.

“Wasps are pollinators,” he says. “Out in the forest, up in the hills, they’re great for our environment.”

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infonews.ca or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2016

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