The Resurgence of Small Scale Beekeeping
You may have heard about the challenges to local honey bee populations due to climate change, harmful pesticides and shrinking eco-systems. However, there is a hum of excitement and eagerness to help from a grassroots level. There has been a resurgence of backyard beekeeping in BC for a few years now, and the pandemic opened many people’s eyes to how vital our local community food supply chain can be. Over the pandemic, new beekeeper numbers increased by 20-30 percent.
It's great to connect with nature while doing something that helps the environment, and you can even make money from your honey! If you've ever considered becoming a backyard beekeeper, now is the time to jump in and try.
Small-scale beekeeping is a growing movement. This increased popularity means that more people are aware of the health benefits of honey and hive products, which can be used to sweeten foods without added processed sugar, or taken orally to help with allergies and other conditions. Local honey can be healthier for the consumer as it can contain lower levels of pesticides as large-scale produced honey. It's also better for the environment because it doesn't contribute to global warming by using fossil fuels during transportation, as imported honey often does. There is nothing more local than honey produced right in your backyard!
Bumblebees, moths and butterflies contribute to the process of pollination. Pollination is a major ecosystem service that bees provide and it's extremely important for food production. If you are an avid gardener, then having hives on your property is a great way to increase the success of your crops. In addition to increasing veggie yields and improving overall plant health (for example by reducing pest problems), having a small group of bees on your property can also help improve fruit tree production by making sure there are enough pollinators available at critical times during the season when fruit set is most important.
If you are unsure of the commitment of keeping your own bees, but would like to help in the movement, we have a Landshare program that allows us to keep our hives on your property. This gives you the opportunity to see how beehives work, as well as reap the benefits to your land.
Right here in Revelstoke and our surrounding communities we have seen a growing interest in local honey products, and backyard beekeeping. The Revelstoke Local Food Initiative (LFI) holds a quarterly meeting for local beekeepers. If you would like to join in our the LFI Beekeeping Committee Meetings, and/ or the Revelstoke Beekeeping Facebook group, please feel free to Contact Us for more details.
Starting backyard beekeeping has never been easier. You can directly purchase everything you need to get started online. We have hive nucleus, queen bees and hive maintenance products available to get you started. There is a wealth of information online to dig into, or if you are curious about how to get started we offer beginner courses in Revelstoke. We also offer beekeeping mentorship to beekeepers interested in learning about best practices as we apply them to our commercial operation.