Contributor(s): Kasahra Atkins, Hanna Martens, Kien Nguyen, Christian Varty
Bees are a major player in the local environment and can also produce sweet, delicious honey for anyone who is willing to keep them. Owning bees has become increasingly popular in recent years.
The Benefits of Bees
Bees help pollinate flowers, fruits, and all other flora in the surrounding area. Not only does the beekeeper get to enjoy the rewards of fresh organic honey, but also the neighbourhood will receive a huge boost in pollination, and will flourish accordingly. Additionally, the bees are able to help people learn about the ecosystem they are immersed in. When the bees choose a place to collect, the plants they visit transfer some taste into the final product. For example, if a hive hangs around a particular wildflower bush, the honey will be reflect that flavour. This means that the flavours, and colour of the honey can change annually.
Jenna’s Backyard Bees
Jenna is an urban beekeeper in downtown Kamloops; she has been beekeeping for two years. Thanks to her hive of bees, she has wonderfully fresh and local honey for her family and friends. Jenna isn’t worried about housing bees in her yard, as they eventually begin to recognize her, and her safety gear keeps her sting-free. As a bonus, Jenna is able to use the knowledge she has acquired to teach her family and friends. “It’s not hard to keep bees,” she says, in hopes that more people will take up the hobby.
Videos produced by Kien Nguyen
Bees and Bylaws
Since 1 April 2014, most properties within Kamloops have been allowed to house bees. The number of hives in a single yard is dependent on the size of the lot. However, beekeeping is not permitted within multi-family areas, such as a strata complex. These recent changes allow most urban dwellers to have backyard bee hives to enjoy year round. All beekeepers must register their bees with the BC Ministry of Agriculture, so if there are any bee health issues, all hives are accounted for. Beekeeping provides a way for urban residents to produce food for themselves, and to help pollinate their neighbourhoods. Pollinators, such as honeybees, are necessary for producing the food we eat, and to help to beautify the city around us!
How can you get involved
To become a beekeeper, it is important to do your research first. You can explore introductory classes in Kamloops. It is also good to check the local bylaws for your area for lot sizes and requirements. The start-up cost is reasonable, with starter kits for as low as $200 in some stores. The bees themselves can be about $250, which includes the queen and enough bees to start collecting. More information about beekeeping in Kamloops can be found at the Kamloops Beekeepers website.