David Proctor

The importance of bees

Honey Bee Awareness Day at Tugwell Creek and Meadery meant to be informational.

Tugwell Creek Farm and Meadery held it’s fourth annual event for Day of the Honey Bee on May 27.

Dozens of people were expected to pass through for the event, which had a variety of activities like wine tasting, face painting, tours of the premises and interaction with bee experts.

Bob Liptrot, co-owner of Tugwell Creek Farm and Meadery and life-long bee farmer, said the purpose of holding the event was to build public awareness on bees and their prominent role in food production.

“We’re really trying to get a message across to the public that bees are an integral part of agriculture,” he said. “They’re critical to the well-being of the food supply chain, without honey bees and the other pollinators… our food diversity would diminish greatly.”

With 30 per cent of food coming from pollinators, Liptrot said products like fruits, vegetables and even dairy and beef would be negatively impacted from the disappearance of bees and pollinators.

“Without pollinators we’ll be seriously compromised, and I don’t know if it will be the end of humanity like some people predict, but it would definitely make it a lot harder to subsist.”

In addition to producing honey and mead, the business is involved in a nation-wide project to breed a stronger genetics of bees and is a strong participant in the TLC Land Conservancy’s Pollinator Enhancement Project.

Liptrot said of the 12 acres of land, only one third is cultivated for use. The remaining eight acres are reserved, and left untouched to create natural habitats for bees and other wildlife like birds and bears.

Nathalie Chamber, TLC Land Conservancy program assistant for agricultural programs, said Liptrot and his partner Dana LeComte are often mentioned as exemplars in regards to bee conservation.

“Essentially they’re amazing farmers… the amount of biodiversity on their farm is perfect for keeping the habitat necessary for the bees.”

According to Chamber, bees have seen a decline of 90 per cent on Vancouver Island in the past three years.

She said the situation has worsened after the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture lifted a 22-year-old ban restricting the import of bees onto Vancouver Island in April 2010. Lifting the quarantine meant potentially diseased bees could introduce infections into local honey bee colonies and native species on the island that did not exist before.

In an effort to help the dire strait of native bee species, the TLC Land Conservancy has adopted a three step approach: one, recognize and protect bee habitats; two, plant flowering plants for bees to pollinate, particularly between February to November when native bees forage; and three, leave toxic pesticides aside.

The Tugwell Creek Farm and Meadery was the first meadery to open its doors to the public in 2003 in Western Canada, and is currently being reformatted to become an ecomuseum.

The farm is located on 8750 West Coast Road and more information is available at: www.tugwellcreekfarm.com

For bee conservation tips, visit the TLC Land Conservancy blog at: http://bit.ly/dOYvV5

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kwick’kanum (Eric Pelkey), a hereditary chief of the Tsawout Nation, addressed the crowd that gathered at Mount Newton Cross Road and Highway 17 on Oct. 23. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
UPDATED: Pat Bay Highway reopens after rally supporting Mi’kmaq fishing rights

Supporters call on government to recognize Indigenous treaty rights

Sooke man Rik Downer spent two weeks in the Royal Jubilee Hospital after contracting flesh-eating bacteria. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Sooke man’s bumped knee leads to fight for life

Man unknowingly contracts case of rare flesh-eating disease

Const. Graham Walker of the Saanich Traffic Safety Unit recreates an incident involving a driver who police say attempted to film the scene of a crash while driving up Highway 17. (Saanich Police/Twitter)
Police track down driver caught filming accident scene on Pat Bay Highway

Driver issued $368 ticket, points on their licence

The 21st annual Japanese Cultural Fair streams online Oct. 24 from noon to 3 p.m. (Facebook/Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society)
Esquimalt’s Japanese Cultural Fair takes tastes, experiences and cultures online

21st annual free event streams Saturday, Oct. 24 starting at noon

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

Most Read