The Bees are Back in Town
The Peace River region in Alberta is renowned for its vast fields of clover, it's long warm summer days, and it's cool summer nights. The idyllic location for 3,500 colonies of bees to call home.
The Paradis family (Michael, Lise, John, and Tyler) are seventh generation beekeepers & the family that provides us with the beeswax to make our rich and soothing butters.
We visited the Paradis Family earlier this month and got the buzz on their bees.
The Pollinator's Road Trip
In the spring months, The Paradis family heads to the Okanagan, and then to the Lower Mainland, to pollinate different crops, like cherries, apples, peaches, and cranberries.
Bees play a vital role in the pollination of many crops including fruits and vegetables. By using honeybees as pollinators, crop yields can be increased by as much as 300%! Local crops such as canola, alfalfa, and sunflower benefit immensely from the use of our honeybees as pollinators.
Back Home on the Farm
Back at home, the bees are brought to neighbouring farms to pollinate the clover fields. Bees love clover! It also has great benefits to the soil, by depositing Nitrogen back into the soil.
Honey is produced through the summer months into the Fall. Bees collect the honey and deposit it into the frames in a hive.
Each hive has 10 frames in it. The bees work quickly and in only a matter of days, they can have a frame filled with 4 pounds of honey.
We knew there was a reason that we call them worker bees! In fact, the average honey yield per hive in Canada is twice the world’s average due to our long and warm summer days and a vast supply of nectar producing crops.
From the frame below, you'll see that the natural colour of beeswax is white. When bees walk over it with pollen on their feet, it colours the wax yellow!
Once the frames are full, the family brings the hives back to the farm where they scrape off the beeswax and gently shake the honey from the frame. They collect the wax and store it until fall when they clean and prep it for Rocky to use.
The frames are then cleaned & put back in the hives and delivered to the field for more honey making!
Bees hibernate in the winter! While the bees are hibernating, the Paradis family works on cleaning the beeswax, rinsing off the honey, grass, and debris & turning it back to its natural white colour, "as the bees made it". The beeswax is then melted down and sold to us to make beautiful body butters to soothe your dry skin.
TIP: Want to help the bees come out of hibernation? Leave the dandelions and clovers. The bees love them!
Buying 100% Canadian Honey, For Real
There's growing concern in the media about the quality of honey that's being imported into Canada from other markets. Under the current regulations, this honey can be labelled "100% Canadian" if it was packaged in Canada, but not actually produced here. This increased volume of imported honey has also caused honey prices to plummet over the last year, making it increasingly difficult for beekeepers to stay in business.
The best way to support Canadian bee farms, is to buy your honey straight from your local bee farm. Bee Maid is a co-op for all Canadian bee farmers and is a great resource that can connect you to local beekeepers, like the Paradis Family.