Over the years, more people are taking the time to indulge their passions, one of which is beekeeping which has grown in popularity with small hives popping up across the province.
While the rise of beekeeping has helped the bees, it has also helped the environment since honeybees and native bees are an integral part of the pollination system. These hard-working winged invertebrates have been around for millions of years, responsible for the successful seeding of more than 90% of all flowering plants, and for fruiting 30% of our food.
In Hoosier, Sk., on the Goldsmith Farm, Dee Myers has indulged in her passion for bees, creating a busy apiary of 11 hives. In addition to selling delicious raw, unpasteurized honey, Myers also sells tallow-based soaps and creams which contain beeswax and honey.
We were lucky enough to catch up with Myers, who shared a little about her, her passion, and her bee-utiful business!
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and Branded Bees?
My name is Dee, a local beekeeper and owner of Branded Bees.
I came to West Central Saskatchewan in 2018, from Calgary, Alberta, when my better half decided to move back home to his family farm. Prior to moving to Hoosier, SK, I had no farming experience. What I did have, were big dreams of homesteading, fresh honey and a peaceful life in the country.
Our farm, located 60 km West of Kindersley, sits in the beautiful Canadian Prairies, the perfect spot for our small but busy apiary of 11 hives. Since owing bees, our vision of beekeeping has developed into something much bigger. We recognized that regardless of what we were producing, one piece of the puzzle remained constant; healthy soil. Although soil and beekeeping appear independent of one another, we passionately believe that soil health is directly linked to wholesome & organic products. Managing our farm to be a diverse and organic forage site is something we strive for, and results in products we’re proud to offer.
I’ve been asked about the name Branded Bees. The name came when my better half decided that we should brand each bee just like our cattle, allowing us to determine which ones were ours. Although branding bees would never be a reality, the name stuck.
Honey is where our heart is, but we are expanding in new and beautiful ways. Our nourishing tallow-based soaps and creams were a natural extension of our honey business, largely made with our farm-raised ingredients including grass-end tallow, beeswax and honey.
If you haven’t heard of us you can check out our web page at http://brandedbees.company.site or b_r_a_n_d_e_d_b_e_e_s on IG or Facebook
Why did you decide to start Branded Bees?
What started as a hobby eventually seemed like a great business opportunity. Living on a farm, we have the space and resources to expand organically. Starting a small business allows us the opportunity to grow our apiary and continue to do something we love.
What have been the biggest challenges you have faced so far?
Our biggest challenge is understanding “why” things go wrong. Losing a hive is not only a huge financial hit but something that must be taken seriously. The potential for disease to spread amongst our apiary, or others in the area, is a huge concern. Learning about pests and disease is a major part of beekeeping. Being able to identify warning signs and reasons for loss is not always cut and dry.
Have you had any memorable moments so far?
Our apiary and harvesting station are all located in our backyard. Come harvest day, we need to complete the task in one evening. If we don’t, when the bees wake, they smell the honey and come by the thousands to take it back to their hives. I can tell you, trying to harvest honey while under attack from thousands of bees is not fun.
Last year we started harvesting at 8 a.m. and finished at 3 a.m. Being a small operation we have limited equipment, technology and people to get the job done.
What has been your favorite part so far in running your business?
My favorite part of running the business, other than having the opportunity to spend time with the bees, is meeting people in the community. When fresh honey comes off the comb and we post it for sale and hand-deliver our product. Getting to know neighbors and people in the community is always a positive experience. It’s also great to meet others who are interested in bees, want to learn more about them and understand their importance in our ecosystems.
Have bees always been a passion of yours?
Bees have always fascinated me, with a growing curiosity in the late 2000s when colony collapse became an issue. Although interested, I always lived in housing that didn’t permit me to have my own hive. Fast forward to 2018 when my life took me to Hoosier Saskatchewan and my opportunity to chase my bee dream became a reality.
My passion for bees continues to grow. I find the more I learn, the more I want to know. Their ability to communicate through dance, care for community, designated bee roles… it’s all so fascinating.
Did you have to get any special training in order to work with bees?
I have taken a number of beekeeper courses, and continue to learn through mentors and reading. I truly believe a beekeeper will tell you they will never stop learning. Caring for bees especially, you must keep informed due to shifting environmental and health conditions which affect these insets and their hives.
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