Surrey beekeepers have a field day – and results sweeter than ever

SOUTH SURREY — The Surrey Beekeepers Association held a "field day" last weekend in order to get their hives winter-ready.Results were sweeter than ever, with a buzzing queen bee and lots of larvae on hand at the hives, located on 29A Avenue.

The last step was making sure there was enough honey to carry them through until spring."It’s such a fascinating world to look at and study," said President Don Carter, who added field days are held twice a year.

"It gives us a chance to go in there and troubleshoot."

The association is also looking to get its membership back in the triple digits after seeing a decline over the years.

"We’ve had a lot more new members this year, but right now we’re sitting at 55. At one time, we were over 200 strong," he said.Group vice-president Thomas Schmitz added given an ailing bee population, belonging to a club like this is important to maintaining their livelihood.

"If you have mentorship, you stand to be more successful in taking care of your bees, than if you just jump right in. We always bring speakers in with new ideas and research."

Those who attend the info session also learn about best practices, like nutrition.

"If our bees have a McDonald’s diet, just sugar and water, then they’re not that healthy. If there’s habitat to feed on, like flowers and vegetables, then they do a lot better," Schmitz said.

The association also makes house calls to anyone who has a swarm problem.

Right now, the City of Surrey allows residents to have up to four bee colonies on their property.

"You can do it in your backyard. The thing is, you have to be respectful, you can’t put it up against the fence facing into your neighbour’s yard," Carter said.

As of late, honey bees have been dwindling in numbers due to factors like parasites, pesticides and severe climate change.

Last week, a Simon Fraser University professor unveiled a new compound that mitigates the effect mites have on the nectar-feeding insects.

"This is exactly the type of research we like to share with other beekeepers and why it’s critical we work together to ensure their survival," Carter said.

"How good bees are doing reflects on the ecology itself."The Surrey Beekeepers Association was established in the 1970s and meets once a month at the Honeybee Centre on 176th Street.

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