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

 

 

Just Posted

New changes are being proposed to four streets in James Bay to allow better access for cyclists. Residents have until June 11 to provide feedback. (Black Press Media file photo)
New revisions to James Bay bike lanes open for feedback

Routes on Government and Montreal streets planned for 2022

An elderly man having a medical emergency in Mount Douglas Park on May 13 was rescued by firefighters and paramedics with the help of ATVs. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Rescue team uses ATVs get man in medical distress out of Saanich park and to hospital

Cedarhill Road closed as firefighters, paramedics rescue man in Mount Douglas Park

While recovering several items reported stolen from the set of a Netflix movie in early April, West Shore RCMP also seized drugs and drug trafficking items from a Colwood residence last week. (Black Press Media file photo)
Electronics, credit cards taken from Neflix set found in Colwood home

West Shore RCMP seize stolen items, drugs, trafficking materials

Saanich police used a drone to investigate a fatal crash in the 5200-block of West Saanich Road on Feb. 4, 2021. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Police determine speed, impairment not factors in fatal West Saanich Road crash

Driver who died veered across center line into oncoming traffic for unknown reason, police say

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

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 May 11

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

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking on a remote forest road in Naramata on May 10. (Submitted)
Kamloops brothers identified as pair found dead near Penticton

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking

Municipal governments around B.C. have emergency authority to conduct meetings online, use mail voting and spend reserve funds on operation expenses. (Penticton Western News)
Online council meetings, mail-in voting option to be extended in B.C.

Proposed law makes municipal COVID-19 exceptions permanent

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
British Columbians aged 20+ can book for vaccine Saturday, those 18+ on Sunday

‘We are also actively working to to incorporate the ages 12 to 17 into our immunization program’

The AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine. (AP/Eranga Jayawardena)
2nd person in B.C. diagnosed with rare blood clotting after AstraZeneca vaccine

The man, in his 40s, is currently receiving care at a hospital in the Fraser Health region

Canada’s demo Hornet soars over the Strait of Georgia near Comox. The F-18 demo team is returning to the Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Sgt. Robert Bottrill/DND
F-18 flight demo team returning to Vancouver Island for spring training

The team will be in the Comox Valley area from May 16 to 24

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Bow-legged bear returns to Ladysmith, has an appointment with the vet

Brown Drive Park closed as conservation officers search for her after she returned from relocation

Most Read