The Secret Life of Bees at Algonquin Park

A few weeks ago, Martha and Todd Lucier, co-founders of Northern Edge Algonquin took a weekend course in beekeeping at Boards Honey Farm in Restoule (about 40 min from the Edge).

The fascinating learning experience opened their eyes to the world of bees.  Within weeks, Todd and Martha were purchasing beekeeping equipment, reading and re-reading how-to manuals, watching videos and getting ready to become foster parents to two bee hives and 10’s of thousands of honey bees.

Todd feels like there is a huge gap in our education system. “How could we go to school for close to twenty years and come away knowing so little about the honey bee, a little insect that is responsible for pollinating so many of the plants that we rely on for food. It’s a shame. Maybe by keeping bees ourselves we can help fill in some of the education gaps for our guests.”

Stephan Board met the Lucier’s east of Powassan, Ontario to pass on ownership of two hives of bees on their 32nd wedding anniversary – July 3, 2014.

After returning home with the bees and setting the bees in the yard, Todd spent the following day setting up an electric fence to protect the bees from predators – like bears.  Did you know bears are attracted to bees?  Not just for the honey, but bees make a fine snack too; rich in protein.  Stephan explained during the beekeeping course that he has encountered entire colonies that have been destroyed by bears – while the honey has been left behind.

The bees are  a wonderful addition to the gardens at Northern Edge Algonquin.  The team continues to learn more and more about bees every day.  They require quite a bit of maintenance and care, but the world needs bees and they are under threat from a variety of man-made pesticides – primarily neonics, a type of pesticide that has been banned in many countries for their danger to bees. Read more on neonics from David Suzuki.

On your next visit to our Algonquin Park home, ask Todd and Martha for a tour of the bee yard. Todd greatly enjoys watching the bees come and go from the hive and although he still has lots to learn, he has lots to share about the bee story here at Algonquin Park. And soon, we’ll even have a little bit of honey from our apiary to share with guests. Stay tuned.

 

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