Thunder Bay

Weeds will grow wild in Dryden, Ont., this spring, to help bees find nectar and pollen

Cool temperatures and snow on the ground in parts of northwestern Ontario give the feeling of winter coming — but one beekeeper in Dryden, Ont., is already starting to think about spring.

April and May 2021 will be declared Honeybee Appreciation Months

Flowers and weeds will not have to be moved in April and May of 2021, as Dryden, Ont., will declare the two months as Honeybee Appreciation Months. (CBC)

Cool temperatures and snow on the ground in parts of northwestern Ontario give the feeling of winter coming — but one Dryden, Ont., man is already starting to think about spring.

Reagan Breeze, a beekeeper, has made deputations to a number of communities in the region, asking them to allow property owners to keep their grass long through the spring, to allow dandelions to grow.

And so, April and May 2021 will be declared Honeybee Appreciation Months in Dryden, allowing the weeds to provide food for bees and other pollinators.

"Pollen and nectar, that is one of the most vital food sources to sustain a bee's life. So, after being dormant for the winter months, those flowers are vital so they get that nutritional value," said Breeze.

Breeze said his business, Beezer's Honey, has also had signs made, so homeowners can show why they are letting their weeds and flowers grow in the early part of the year. 

"It's a vital food component to save a bee's life," Breeze said, adding bees also contribute to food security for humans, by supporting other plants and agriculture.

Reduce carbon footprint

Breeze said letting lawns grow and weeds and flowers to prosper also reduces a homeowner's carbon footprint, as people do not have to cut their grass using gas mowers.

Breeze said he is speaking with four other municipalities in the region to have the same proclamation made.

"We have a lot of people in big cities in southern Ontario that are watching this. A lot of beekeepers, and some of them aren't even beekeepers," he said, noting it's easy for communities that have an existing bylaw that requires weeds be kept short, to have that rule amended for a month or two.

Breeze said there is a growing interest in honeybees and their impact on agriculture. He plans to run a Junior Beekeepers program in Dryden and Kenora starting this spring, with 80 kids from ages four to 12 learning about beekeeping, and the insects' impact on the environment.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeff Walters

Reporter/Editor

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Jeff is proud to work in his hometown, as well as throughout northwestern Ontario. Away from work, you can find him skiing (on water or snow), curling, out at the lake or flying.

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