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

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

Various Victoria locations were hit with a slew of anti-bylaw graffiti Wednesday. This image has been altered to cover up profane language. (Submitted photo)
UPDATED: Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti an ‘unacceptable’ form of communication says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

This rendering shows plans for the new “flyover”overpass connecting northbound traffic on Highway 17 heading west on Keating Cross Road. Plans currently seeking public input propose two options for the median along Keating Cross Road. Option 1 will prevent left turns onto Tamany Drive and Buena Vista Road. Option 2 (seen here)will allow for left turns onto Tamany Drive and Bujena Vista Road. (Screencap/Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)
Public asked for comment on proposed overpass for Pat Bay in Central Saanich

New flyover overpass proposed for Highway 17 and Keating Cross Road

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

A pedestrian pushing two children in a stroller was struck by a driver while crossing a Highway 1 off-ramp at Burnside Road West on Feb. 24. (Google Streetview)
UPDATED: Pedestrian with two children in stroller struck in Saanich crosswalk after driver failed to yield

No serious injuries reported, driver issued $167 ticket under Motor Vehicle Act, police say

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

When his owner had knee surgery, Kevin, 2, was able to continue to go for walks thanks to volunteers from Elder Dog Canada. (Contributed photo)
B.C. woman has nothing but praise for Elder Dog Canada

National organization has a fleet of volunteer walkers ready, but needs more clients to serve

Justin Morissette is still recovering from the injuries sustained in the altercation. He is not yet able to walk without assistance. (Justin Morissette, Twitter)
B.C. man suing city and police over violent altercation with anti-LGBTQ preacher

Justin Morissette argues police knew the threat the preacher posed, and failed to keep the peace

Mowi Canada West salmon farm in B.C. waters. Conservative MPs have backed an industry call for further discussions on the timeline for closing Discovery Island farms. (Photo supplied by Mowi Canada)
Conservative MPs back B.C. salmon farmers’ call for transparent discussions

Farm owners requested consultations, more time to leave Discovery Islands

Jack Barnes, who was Cowichan Valley Capitals property from May 2020 until last week, scores a goal for the Penticton Vees during the 2019-20 BCHL season. (Brennan Phillips/Black Press)
COVID-crunched BCHL facing trade deadline dilemma with its 20-year-olds

Hard decisions loom when BCHL may or may not resume play

Most Read