EDITORIAL: Compelling case offered for bee knowledge

Beekeepers like Barry Denluck of View Royal help with understanding

The demise of honeybees across North America and Europe has been the focus of many biologists for the past two years in particular, as researchers further connect the industrious insects to plant health and reproduction.

News reporter Andrea Peacock spent an afternoon at the district’s newest bee colony, or apiary – installed at the community garden near the University of Victoria on McKenzie Avenue – where she discovered beekeepers frequently battle public stigma around the likelihood of bee stings.

Bee allergies are rightfully a primary concern when considering the location of a new colony, but in reality, the insects are much more content to go about their business than sting passersby.

It’s encouraging to see the likes of View Royal resident Barry Denluck provide relocation services for beehives at no cost to flustered homeowners with his relative immunity to stings.

Interviewed for a recent story in the Gazette, Denluck reported that he needs to be stung 20 to 30 times per year for his body to stay acclimatized to future sting. It’s just part of the job for him.

Not everyone feels the same way, however. In families where someone is allergic to wasps, bees or other similar insects, the theory, especially where the allergic person is a child, is to simply avoid them and not take chances.

Organizations with expert knowledge in beekeeping, including the Capital Region Beekeepers Association, LifeCycles Project Society and the Greater Victoria Compost Education Centre, can help with identification.

If their staff can’t provide the answers you need, they’re certainly willing to reach out to people who can on your behalf.

Introducing kids to beekeeping at an early age can also help diffuse the fear around bee behaviour.

So next time you notice a buzzing insect near your patio furniture, take a moment to identify it. If it’s a honeybee, bumblebee or other non-carnivorous creature, let it be.

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