Let it bee

Adopt-A-Hive pro­gram aims to pro­tect hon­ey­bees

The Compass - - Sports - BY SAM MCNEISH hon­ey­bee farm to keep a hive for you if you don’t have the space,” Paul Dinn said. sa­muel.mcneish@thetele­gram.com

You of­ten hear peo­ple say they wish they could go back to the old days.

In to­day’s so­ci­ety, ad­vance­ments and tech­nol­ogy have taken over. But tech­nol­ogy can’t run ev­ery­thing.

Just ask Brenda and Dinn of the Goulds.

Brenda, a reg­is­tered nurse who works in women’s health at the Health Sciences Cen­tre in St. John’s, and Paul, a health and safety con­sul­tant, found a way five years ago to help curb the fast-paced life­style that ev­ery­one is caught up in.

“For many years we won­dered what would be a good busi­ness to start on our prop­erty. We looked at rais­ing sheep, egg pro­duc­tion, grow­ing Christ­mas trees, glamping (lux­ury camp­ing) and so on,” Paul said.

About five years ago, a chance con­ver­sa­tion with a friend alerted Paul to the fact his prop­erty con­tained an abun­dance of wild­flow­ers, and one in par­tic­u­lar — fire­weed.

Not know­ing any­thing about the plant, and fear­ing it could be an in­va­sive species that would dam­age nearby veg­e­ta­tion, Paul started to re­search it, and what he found set his next move in mo­tion.

Brenda said Paul is a great reader and re­searcher, so when he needed to find out about the fo­liage on his land and the ram­i­fi­ca­tions of it, he went to work.

“I was thrilled to find out that fire­weed is highly prized by bee­keep­ers, as its nec­tar and pollen makes one of the world’s finest hon­eys,” Paul said.

“Some bee­keep­ers even drive or fly their bee­hives great dis­tances so that their bees can make honey from fire­weed blos­soms.”

Api­ary opened

For the past five years, the Dinns have been op­er­at­ing an api­ary in the acreage be­hind their home on the Back Line in the Goulds — Ade­laide’s New­found­land Honey Inc., a com­pany named af­ter Brenda’s mother and the first reg­is­tered api­ary in St. John’s.

“We had the land, the flo­ral source and wanted to do some­thing with bees,” Brenda said.

The land the Dinns own and work orig­i­nally be­longed to Paul’s great-grand­par­ents, who raised 13 chil­dren there.

Paul said the fam­ily was self­suf­fi­cient, grow­ing all their own veg­eta­bles and rais­ing an­i­mals for meat and poul­try.

Like so many oth­ers in that era, he said, the fam­ily suf­fered through tough times, but man­aged to sur­vive as they were true pi­o­neers who would saw logs to build their home and who used two large New­found­land dogs to haul those logs.

Dinn said his grand­mother made her own but­ter, bread and clothes.

The orig­i­nal homestead was passed down through the fam­ily, even­tu­ally land­ing with Paul and Brenda.

It was a per­fect lo­ca­tion to nur­ture their love of bees.

Ade­laide’s has grown into a multi-faceted home-based op­er­a­tion that al­lows them to have bee­hives, in­crease the bee pop­u­la­tion and share the honey yield at mar­kets in and around the St. John’s area.

To help share their love of bees, the Dinns have ini­ti­ated an Adopt-A-Hive pro­gram (see fact box) for the province that will al­low for the pro­tec­tion of hon­ey­bees, ex­pand the pop­u­la­tion and give those who par­tic­i­pate Paul a new hobby to en­joy, while at the same time mak­ing a mark on the en­vi­ron­ment.

“We pro­vide fully man­aged bee­hive rentals for home­own­ers and busi­nesses in St. John’s, Mount Pearl, C.B.S. and the sur­round­ing re­gion,” Paul said.

In ad­di­tion to the en­vi­ron­men­tal foot­print a bee­hive can leave, Dinn said bees — for him at least — are ther­a­peu­tic.

He said just sit­ting in the evening or on a sunny af­ter­noon and watch­ing them go about their busi­ness is amaz­ing and ed­u­ca­tional at the same time.

“Peo­ple work so hard and are of­ten said to be ‘busy as bees.’ It’s so true. The bees, they all work to­gether and are a good ex­am­ple of what team-build­ing is about,” he said.

The gov­ern­ment rec­og­nizes the im­por­tance of bees, too. A sec­tion of The Way For­ward plan points to the is­land of New­found­land as one of three ar­eas in the world rec­og­nized for hav­ing a clean en­vi­ron­ment, wild­flow­ers and, in turn, a healthy bee pop­u­la­tion.

The other re­gions are the Isle of Man and Western Aus­tralia.

In ad­di­tion, the City of Mount Pearl has passed a by­law that al­lows each res­i­dent to have two hives on their prop­erty.

“We are an is­land, so this is a pro­tected habi­tat,” said Brenda, who op­er­ates the busi­ness end of Ade­laide’s New­found­land Honey Inc.

She said the po­ten­tial for agriculture-based tourism is un­tapped. Op­por­tu­ni­ties could in­clude an ed­u­ca­tional com­po­nent, as the Dinns will go into schools and speak to chil­dren about the im­por­tance of the bee pop­u­la­tion and what can be done to pro­tect and en­hance it.

“We show the hon­ey­combs at the mar­ket. Peo­ple are re­ally in­ter­ested in what we do, and stop by just to talk about it,” she said.

Brenda said as they con­tinue to build their com­pany, the prod­uct is gain­ing in pop­u­lar­ity — they sold out their en­tire stock in one day at the mar­ket this year.

“It is raw, lo­cal honey that goes di­rectly from the hive to the bot­tle. There is no pro­cess­ing in­volved,” she said.


one of three lo­cated in the bee house por­tion of Ade­laide’s New­found­land Honey Inc., was lit­er­ally a bee­hive of ac­tiv­ity. Paul Dinn of Ade­laide’s New­found­land Honey Inc. checks a hive as he starts to pre­pare them for win­ter


Brenda and Paul Dinn, who op­er­ate Ade­laide’s New­found­land Honey Inc. in the Goulds, hold a sign they use to pro­mote their prod­ucts at farm­ers’ mar­kets.


Brenda and Paul Dinn of the Goulds look over one of their hives at Ade­laide’s New­found­land Honey Inc.


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