Jesse Weber and Danielle Burrows picked up their bees and gear at Buckerfield’s Country Store in Parksville on Saturday

First-time beekeepers claim their colonies in Parksville

Buckerfield's stores throughout the region were giving away bees on Saturday

Saturday was bee day at Buckerfield’s in Parksville.

About 20 people stopped by the store before 9:30 a.m. to pick up their bee nucleus colonies.

Some of the buyers were first-time beekeepers, like Peggy Aspell and her husband Dermott.

“I don’t know everything about them, but I’m just really interested,” said Peggy, adding that she’s been taking bee propolis for her arthritis.

Propolis is a resinous substance collected by honeybees from tree buds, and can be used as an anti-inflammatory.

Peggy, who has arthritis in her knees, said the propolis has helped quite a bit.

“But right now, the arthritis seems to be way improved and I’ve just been on the bee products for two months.”

For others, Like Danielle Burrows and Jesse Weber, it was just something new to try.

“We bought some property about three years ago, and so it was kind of always in the back of our minds and we sort of thought that we were ready to take the step of doing it because we have every other animal on the planet now, so why not bees?” Burrows said laughing.

She added that they had been planning to start beekeeping, and then they saw the ad to buy bees from Buckerfield’s. The two are from Port Alberni, and Burrows said they have a mentor of sorts who has been teaching them a bit about beekeeping.

“I’ve been kind of getting an idea of the amount of work,” Burrows said. “There’s maintenance and there’s checking the bees and looking for any issues.”

One of the Parksville Buckerfield’s employees, Caitlyn Michaels, said it’s not a 24-7 job, but there is a lot involved.

“It’s not just a hobby you can forget about and leave,” said Michaels, adding that people need to keep an eye on the honeybees or “they will swarm.”

Michaels said there has been a huge response from people buying the bees. There were more than 20 pre-sold bee nucleus colonies.

“We weren’t expecting that many. Originally, we only had so many for all the Buckerfield’s stores — all eight of us — and all of a sudden we surpassed our original amount and we got more and more and more. It seems like every store has had a good reaction to it,” Michaels said.

Michaels said this is Buckerfield’s first time selling nucleus colonies.

“It’s become a new thing and everybody is really excited about keeping bees and doing their own thing, and pollinating and honey,” Michaels said.

Buckerfield’s has all the necessary equipment stocked for beekeepers such as starter hive kits, frames and foundations, smoker fuel and whole hive boxes, according to Michaels.

The bee colonies were transported overnight to the different stores before being taken to their new homes on the morning of May 14.

Buckerfield’s CEO Kelvin McCulloch said the bees need to be let out immediately to fly, or else they would die.

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