GreenUP COMMUNITY BEEKEEPING PROGRAM
Goal: The mission of the GreenUP Community Beekeeping Program is to:
“Promote the awareness and appreciation of pollinators as a healthy part of our community, through beekeeping, education and advocacy.”
Terms of Reference:
In 2015, the GreenUP Community Beekeeping project (GCBP) was created in response to the critical decline of pollinators both locally and globally. The GCBP is a project of GreenUP, also be referred to a B’s Bees, in recognition to the donor who has generously supported the start up of this initiative. This project will continue to develop through co-funding of participants and sponsorships within our community.
Priorities for the GreenUP Community Beekeeping Program (GCBP)
- Sustainability – GCBP endeavours to develop and maintain beekeeping activities in a sustainable manner. The capacity of the program’s workshops, events and stewardship initiatives will be dependent upon community involvement and commitment throughout the season. Sustainability may change from season to season.
- Accessibility – GCBP welcomes members of our community from a wide demographic of abilities, backgrounds and experiences. Program activities will be accessible to people in the community without the need to own beekeeping equipment, land or a vehicle.
- Community – The program will focus on ‘building a hive’ community, through sharing the beekeeping experience and the celebration of bees in our immediate environment. GCBP supports community\ group stewardship of bees and other pollinators, instead of facilitating individualized beekeeping support.
- Education- The GCBP supports hands–on, experiential approach to learning about native bees and honeybees in our local environment with people of all ages and abilities.
- Advocacy– The GCBP advocates for a healthy, vibrant community which supports abundant, pesticide-free pollinator forage and habitat. GCBP is a voice for safe and sustainable urban beekeeping in the Peterborough area.
How can I participate? Is this program right for me?
Beekeeping is a significant and important commitment. Unlike native, solitary species of bees, Apis mellifera, or the honeybee, is eusocial and entirely dependent on the bee colony for survival. Over the past century, beekeeping practices have developed to be able to carefully inspect bees and colony health, while reaping the benefits of extracting honey for our consumption.
GreenUP will have 6 hives in operation in the spring of 2017, with each colony potentially growing to up to 65 000 bees. Hive checks will be conducted on a weekly, or bi-weekly basis with our beekeeping staff, along with up to 10 community participants per visit. All equipment, protective gear and instruction is provided. GreenUP will be organizing the participation into a seasonal membership to secure commitment, as well as offer ‘Bee Days’ for interested people to come out and see what beekeeping and bees are all about!
Frequently Asked Questions (excerpt from Ontario Beekeeping Association)
Is beekeeping hard work?
Beekeeping is physical, outdoor work but there are tools and techniques used to overcome the strenuous aspects. People with disabilities have been known to keep bees, and a portion of beekeepers are seniors. Full sized honey boxes can weigh up to 100 pounds, but increasingly beekeepers are working with small to medium-sized honey boxes, which, filled with honey, can weigh approximately 40lbs. The GreenUP Community Beekeeping Program allows multiple people to work together to alleviate some of the physical work a solo beekeeper would be responsible for doing.
Will I get stung? What do I do if I get stung?
Yes, all beekeepers get stung eventually. When you get stung, the most important thing is to remove the venom sac and stinger as soon as possible. The most effective way to do this is to lift it out with your fingernail or the fine edge of your hive tool. Try to avoid squeezing the venom sac between two fingers, as this could push the venom into the sting site. For most people, this is a minor event, similar in pain to getting a needle. It will not leave permanent damage. You will likely experience swelling at the site, and often itching for a few days. This is a normal reaction to bee stings. The face is a sensitive place to be stung, therefore a veil is highly recommended. If you are allergic, a sting is deadly serious .
How do I know if I am allergic?
If you or your immediate family members have never been stung by a bee, you may be unaware of an allergy to bee stings. It may be of interest to get tested before getting involved in beekeeping. If you are allergic, you may experience hives and discomfort with swallowing or breathing even after the first sting. Allergies to stings tend to escalate with each sting, potentially causing anaphylactic shock, a life-threatening condition. Nothing is worth risking your life, or the life of those you care about, so if you are allergic, beekeeping may not be for you. Community members will be required to sign a waiver of liability and risk before participating in the GreenUP beekeeping program.
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