Beekeeper Barry Denluck holds a tray of honeybees at the University of Victoria campus community garden

Honeybees find a home at Gordon Head community garden

Stakeholders hope partnership with University of Victoria, kids camps will help address stigma around bees

Barry Denluck just wants the world to love bees.

So it was with delight when Denluck delivered four honeybee colonies to the University of Victoria’s campus community garden earlier this month after two years of negotiations.

“This all had to do with the liability issue of honeybees in a semi-public place,” he said.

Denluck is the official beekeeper for the apiary, colloquially known as a collection of beehives, and several others across Greater Victoria.

He harvests the honey and said he needs the bees to sting him 20 to 30 times each year in order to keep his body acclimatized to their venom.

“To me, a bee sting is like a mosquito bite to you,” he says.

Matthew Morrison, campus community garden co-ordinator, sees the apiary as a welcome addition to the garden.

Former co-ordinators attempted to get honeybee approval from university officials four years ago, but they were unsuccessful.

Members of the garden are now supportive of the project, although Morrison said some were initially concerned about stinging and allergic reactions.

“We brought in [epinephrine doses] and let everyone know (about the bees) with signs,” said Morrison.

“We have a protective fence so people know that there’s bees right there, and they’re not likely to come into unintentional contact.”

The successful push came from Alicia Zigay, a UVic microbiology graduate who contacted Denluck in 2013.

Zigay saw a need for a bee farm after realizing a large number of current and aspiring beekeepers had no place in which to house their bees.

“Alicia was absolutely instrumental in making this attempt actually work,” Denluck said. “She doesn’t know the meaning of the word ‘no’.”

Zigay hopes UVic’s students and faculty, as well as the Saanich community as a whole, take advantage of the learning opportunity now buzzing around them.

That early enthusiasm is already showing up, as UVic’s Biology 345 – Animal Behaviour instructor is working on getting one of his labs to the apiary, Denluck said.

Another group, Science Venture, a non-profit organization for youth, has been escorting their Grade 1 summer program students to the apiary as well, said director Melissa Yestrau.

“These hands-on experiences moved many of our campers from a place of fear to understanding – many recognizing how vital bees are to our health and well-being and seeing it as their duty to help protect bees and their environment,” Yestrau said.

The bees make their home at the back corner of the garden at 2100 McKenzie Ave., and are surrounded by a high netting that forces the bees above people’s heads when leaving the colony.

Once bees are a couple of metres away from their home, they no longer want to protect it, Denluck said.

The bee farm will run on a trial basis until October, but Denluck is confident the installation will be a permanent success.

“Way down the road, I’d like to see two apiaries on campus,” he said.

Morrison agrees.

“It’s a super important part of having a healthy food system and having good pollination, and it’s neat that we’re enhancing pollination for the community garden,” he said.

Students, staff or faculty of UVic who want to be part of the campus community garden can send an email to ccgarden@uvic.ca.

Anyone in Greater Victoria who needs a beehive relocated from their property can call Denluck at 250-900-5133, or visit barrysbees.ca.

andrea.peacock@vicnews.com

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

No ‘harmonious solution’ dogs on beaches in Saanich, community-led study finds

Cadboro Bay Residents’ Association present findings to council Sept. 28

B.C. Greens introduce all-women slate for Victoria, Saanich and Oak Bay ridings

School trustee Nicole Duncan assumes Oak Bay-Gordon Head candidacy

Long-time Central Saanich councillor named NDP candidate for Saanich North and the Islands

King, who joins election campaign one week after its start, hopes to unseat Adam Olsen

VicPD explains why calls for service can’t be compared to years before 2019

Department launches Open VicPD, new platform in aim to be transparent

Worklink march in Langford supports Orange Shirt Day

Ahousaht Prayer Song sets the tone

B.C. counts 125 new COVID-19 cases, up to 1,284 active

No new deaths or health care facility outbreaks

Health Canada green-lights rapid COVID-19 test

Health Canada approved the BCube test from Hyris Ltd. in the United Kingdom Sept. 23

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

6 puppies rescued in mass seizure on Princeton farm die from illness: BC SPCA

Of the 97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized, most of the puppies suffered from parvo

Action demanded over death of First Nations youth in Abbotsford group home

Family and Indigenous organizations push for thorough investigation

U.S. boater fined $1,000 for violation of Quarantine Act

49-year-old man entered Canada to visit girlfriend in Surrey

More sex abuse charges laid against B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’

Investigators now focussing efforts on alleged victims within the Glad Tidings Church community

B.C. VOTES 2020: Businesses now owe $6 billion in deferred tax payments

COVID-19 relief from remittance to province ends with September

Most Read