A veteran beekeeper in Newfoundland is feeling good vibes from the buzz of bees.
Aubrey Goulding is the principal beekeeper at Paradise Farms Inc., a company that produces honey, beeswax and pollen products. He said if the summer continues to be warm and dry on the northeast Avalon, he’s expecting a record-breaking honey harvest.
"This year has been tremendous," said Goulding. "This is the first time in 20 years that I've been able to extract honey from the hives this early."
Goulding said before this year the earliest he’d extracted honey was in mid-August, which means honey production is weeks ahead of usual.
He said the most honey he’s ever produced was 1,000 kilograms. Last year, he produced less than 200 kilograms because of the terrible weather.
"It was windy, grey, cold," said Goulding. "If the weather continues it's going to be an exceptional year."
Newfoundland’s worldwide advantage
Goulding said the future is bright for beekeeping in Newfoundland. He described the island as a "beekeepers' paradise", because local bees do not have the diseases or pests that are common on the mainland.
"We’re the only place in the world, pretty well, that [doesn't] have the mite that is causing havoc with beekeepers across North America, Europe and Asia," he said.
"We feed them absolutely no drugs, no medication and that's almost unheard of in other parts of North America, so our bees are clean."
The mite-free status, he said, means Newfoundland can sell hives to other parts of the world.
"There are a couple of people in the province who have produced very high quality queens," he said. "The future is good, the future is bright, and I think it could be very exciting for people who are getting into beekeeping."
But Goulding also warned that the future of beekeeping depends on protecting the hives.
He said there is fear that people could be negligent and bring infected bees to the island.
- Bees don't live very long. They buzz around for just four weeks.
- In that short lifetime, each worker bee produces about two teaspoons of honey.
- A bee must take the nectar from four million flower blossoms to produce one kilogram of honey.