UXBRIDGE: The Town of Uxbridge may soon have some new neighbours of the insect variety. During a Council Meeting on Feb. 8th, Christopher Campbell of Hiveshare Honey proposed to Council that live beehives be set up around prominent areas of Uxbridge to spread awareness and educate the public about the importance of maintaining a healthy honey bee population.
According to Mr. Campbell, “1-in-3 bites of food we eat is naturally pollinated by honey bees. Awareness and understanding of honey bees leads to longer and happier lives for our grandchildren.” The beehives would be maintained and looked after personally by Mr. Campbell and range from $250 for a quarter hive to $800 for a full hive.
Mr. Campbell also guarantees 16 liters of honey per beehive, even if production of certain beehives falls under the 16L mark. All the honey produced by the beehives would then be given to the town to do with what they please, such as donating the honey to a local food bank.
Council did show support for the initiative, saying education concerning honey bees is important, but did bring up some glaring safety concerns that would first need to be addressed.
“This is a tremendous educational opportunity for the public. Education is 90 percent of the problem”, said Mayor Gerri Lynn O’Connor. The Mayor along with other councillors then expressed their concerns with the beehives being placed in urban areas because it would be a threat to the people of Uxbridge that struggle with serious bee sting allergies and others that might be afraid of the bees being in high traffic areas. Local beekeepers also share the same concerns regarding the beehives.
“Local beekeepers are worried and don’t really support it”, said Ward 2 Councillor, Pat Molloy. Councillor Pamela Beach of Ward 1 suggested that live beehives be placed in areas with less traffic such as rural farmland or be displayed at local schools as an educational tool. Councillor Beach also suggested to Mr. Campbell that he get in touch with the Ontario Farmers Association for their input regarding homes for live beehives.
Mr. Campbell did offer an interesting solution to the problem. He suggested that fake beehives be placed in high traffic areas, instead of real ones and even offered to visit with his hive suit and smoke and pretend to work on the fake beehives in order to raise awareness and capture the attention of the public.
“I like the idea of them being fake in urban areas. We would like to take up the offer”, said Mayor O’Connor. The Mayor then continued by saying she would like to see if fake beehives can be placed in prominent areas such as Elgin Park including a brochure that the public can read to learn about the issue of a low honey bee population. “This is a good way of informing the public about how important this insect is”, said Mayor O’Connor.
To learn more about the Hiveshare program, please call 905-722-9806 or visit www.hiveshare.ca