Fair Fields is proud to announce the acquisition of our very own beehives. We brought the hives here from the Guelph area two weeks ago. Each hive came with its own queen and 10,000 to 15,000 worker bees and drones. Devan’s mother Jennifer is the principle beekeeper.
These bees are very gentle, and don’t sting unless they feel that their hives are threatened. Jennifer didn’t have to wear her bee veil or gloves when she set up the hives in the shelter of spruce and pine trees to the west of our pond, though hundreds of bees began flying in and out of the hives soon after they were opened up.
As you can see from the photo above, the bees have already been gathering pollen and nectar from our flowering chives. We’ve also seen them scouting our strawberries that are now in flower and developing fruit.
We brought bees to the farm to help pollinate the fruits, vegetables and herbs that we are growing for our CSA, as well as flowering trees and wildflowers on the farm. We also hope to harvest honey later this summer or early fall.
Unfortunately, bees and many other pollinators are currently under threat from a range of pesticides used on corn and other cash crops. The pesticides that are killing very large numbers of bees and bee colonies are part of the neonicotinoid family of chemicals. The European Union recently banned the use of these pesticides, but to date these toxins are still in widespread use all over North America, including the area around our farm. We hope that we can provide enough sources of organic pollen and nectar that our bees won’t need to visit crops on other farms where these pesticides are present. In the meantime, we’ve joined the Ontario Beekeepers Association, which is urgently working to persuade the government to end the use of neonicotinoids in Canada.