Community Builders

Military base abuzz as military personnel take up beekeeping

5th Division Support Base Gagetown is currently abuzz thanks to the establishment of its new beekeeping club. Created to protect honeybees and save the environment, these rooftop hives are quickly starting to take root within the Gagetown military community.

It’s no secret that honeybees play a crucial role in nature and without them, our ecosystem would quickly be ruined and many fruits we love to eat would disappear, as many experts are beginning to fear.

An extinction of bees could especially have a significant impact on the province Gagetown calls home: New Brunswick.

“A loss of bees or other pollinators would wreak havoc on the national and regional economy. A world without honeybees would see massive declines in blueberry, raspberry, gooseberry, strawberry, apple and cranberry production in New Brunswick, all of which are key contributors to the provincial economy.

“This problem is compounded as New Brunswick presently does not have sufficient pollinators or beekeepers for cash crops, resulting in the importation of thousands of hives from other parts of the country,” writes Maj. Gordon Bennett, one of the founders of the CFB Gagetown beekeeping club.

A concern for the environment is something that resonates with the members of the beekeeping club.

“A lot of the people in this club are concerned with the environmental aspect of keeping bees and keeping the population up,” explained Cpl. Peter Smith, who is currently looking after the club.

Both Bennett and Smith are helping newbies to the beekeeping game learn the ropes and hone their skills.

“There are so many people interested in beekeeping, but they don’t have the hives. We’re helping them to get hives of their own and get the skills they need to get started out and having the bees on bases is a pretty easy way of doing it,” mentioned Smith.

Located on the rooftops of CFB Gagetown, excellent for the longevity and safety of the bees, the hives add to the already established community gardens. The hives are sitting on pallets constructed from pine shelving and recycled material. Each hive contains five to 20 frames on which the bees produce comb. Over time, these combs will be filled with brood and honey, a small treat for patient beekeepers to reap.

The club, which started out officially this past spring, has attracted many new beekeeper enthusiasts who learn the three-step process on how to keep bees, how to build hives and what they need to maintain them.

Bee hives aren’t the only thing that are adding to the environment-friendly CFB Gagetown, the military community is also pulling together to create community gardens full of various fruits and vegetables.

“Gardens are popping up where flower beds used to be. A lot of people, at least in this area, seem to be more interested in it with the rising prices of food,” noted Smith.

Beekeeping is an eco-friendly hobby that Smith recommends to others.

“It’s kind of a fun hobby to get into, and it’s not fairly expensive,” said Smith.

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MIshall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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