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Provincial association encourages municipal leaders gathered in Corner Brook to support local beekeeping

Catherine Dempsey, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Beekeeping Association, urged municipal leaders from across Newfoundland and Labrador to encourage beekeeping.
Catherine Dempsey, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Beekeeping Association, urged municipal leaders from across Newfoundland and Labrador to encourage beekeeping. - Gary Kean

There’s a growing buzz about beekeeping in Newfoundland and Labrador and the organization dedicated to the activity says there’s a role municipalities can play in helping it take wing.

Catherine Dempsey of Flatrock, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Beekeeping Association, was among the guest speakers to present at the Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador annual conference in Corner Brook Friday morning.

Obviously, Dempsey is interested in seeing the beekeeping industry grow in the province, whether it’s someone with a couple of hives in their backyard or larger operation that commercially produces honey and other bee products.

The benefits of beekeeping go beyond the products that can be made, she said. Having bees around will help pollination in backyard and community gardens.

Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador has included growing the beekeeping industry as a part of the plan to improve food security in the province.

Experienced beekeepers will also be able to help advise municipalities and residents on how to deal with swarms of nuisance bees, and possibly aggressive wasps too, or help explain the creature’s life cycle to interested people in the community.

Of course, any commercial production of bee products would be an economic boost for the area in which the business is located.

“You should encourage beekeepers if they want to start up in your area,” Dempsey told the municipal officials at the conference.

The association recently anointed Mount Pearl as the province’s first bee-friendly municipality after that city implemented regulations and bylaws around backyard beekeeping earlier this year. Mount Pearl has agreed to make the template for its municipal legislation available to any other communities so they can have a basis on which to model their own.

The association, cautioned Dempsey, does not recommend communities simply follow what Mount Pearl has in place. Rather, she said communities should consult with the association to find out how to best fit their regulations to their town’s unique demographics and geography.

Beekeeping in Newfoundland and Labrador

- 40 bee yards

- 500 bee colonies

- 1 beekeeper in Labrador

- Around 10 or so beekeepers in western Newfoundland

 

What residents can do to help a healthy bee population:

- plant flowers bees like in the garden

- mow the lawn less

- let dandelions grow

- use fewer pesticides and herbicides, if not none at all

- purchase locally made honey and other bee products

Source: Newfoundland and Labrador Beekeeping Association

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