Reid visited the facility’s observation beehive and took in a presentation about the honey bee. The presentation left him wanting to know more.
Reid spent about two years researching beekeeping as a hobby.
He then purchased his first beehive (a nucleus colony of bees referred to as a nuc) in the summer of 2015.
“I put them in my back garden here in Springdale,” he said. “They did really good over the winter. But, unfortunately, I lost my queen (bee) that following spring (2016). She didn’t pass away but she didn’t lay (eggs). The workers stuck around but without a queen, the colony fails.”
There is only one queen bee in a hive. It’s the queen that lays eggs.
Reid is the western Newfoundland representative for the Newfoundland and Labrador Beekeeping Association. The association supports beekeeping in this province. While there’s a steep learning curve involved in novice beekeeping, the association’s website notes that you don’t have to know everything in order to get started.
“More and more people are getting into beekeeping now as a hobby,” he said.
Reid noted the association is working on mentorship programs and they have an annual general meeting every year.
According to the association’s website, there is often more than one way of doing something when it comes to beekeeping — more than one hive design and method of feeding honeybees.
Reid ordered his first hive from the NL Bee Company in Pasadena and bought his equipment from Tuck’s Bee Better Farms in Grand Falls-Windsor.
Anyone interested in getting into the hobby should keep in mind that used equipment is not permitted in this province, he said, due to cross-contamination of pests and diseases.
Reid considers himself a novice beekeeper. When getting into the hobby he sought advice from veteran beekeeper Aubrey Goulding of Paradise Farms. Goulding put him in touch with other beekeepers, he said.
The start-up costs of beekeeping runs several hundred dollars, Reid said, and the hobby is a rewarding one.
“Bees all around the world are suffering so you’re helping nature,” he said. “To go out and see the bees doing their daily job is amazing, just to see how a colony works. To view that and be able to keep them and produce honey is a very rewarding thing.”
Originally from Bishop’s Falls, Reid has been living in Springdale for the past two years. He works for the Town of Springdale and sought the town’s permission to establish his beehive before venturing into the hobby.
Reid said his wife Natasha (Reid) also supports his hobby.
Reid is now gearing up for this summer’s activities.
He has ordered three hives and has his equipment all ready to try his luck at beekeeping again this summer.
“My neighbours absolutely love it. I’ve had several of my neighbours actually suit up and come in and view me beekeeping,” he said.
For more information on beekeeping visit www.nlbeekeeping.ca
Did you know...
• There are currently less than 50 beekeepers in the province keeping about 500 colonies.
• Five or six people are commercial operators selling honey, wax candles, cosmetics, and other products but the rest are hobby beekeepers.
• A family of honey bees is called a colony and they nest in hollow trees or human-made dwelling is called hives. There may be as many as 60,000 bees in a hive in early July.
• Honey bees reproduce by swarming, when the queen flies off with several thousand workers to establish a new nest. This is most likely in June or July if the queen runs out of egg-laying space in the hive. Swarms are rare and are nothing to be feared. The workers in a swarm are docile because they are loaded
• A worker bee lives about five-six weeks during the summer. During this time, it
produces 1/12 teaspoon of teaspoon (5 drops)
• Bees from the same hive visit about 225,000 flowers a day. A bee has to visit
about two million flowers to collect enough nectar to make one pound of honey.
• Honey bees are excellent pollinators. An estimated 35 per cent of the world’s food supply is dependent on pollination by honey bees, wild pollinators like bumble bees and nectar-feeding bats, and other species