Letter To Editor: Stratford Beacon Herald

Vandalism – what does it gain anyone? If you can answer this, you are smarter than me.

I am a licensed beekeeper under the authority of the Ontario Bee Act. I run a couple of bee yards and do bee swarm

and colony removals as well. This past Thursday and Friday night, I removed a massive honeybee colony from the side

of a bed and breakfast on Queen Street. We removed an estimated 60,000 honeybees, their hive, and honey stores and

moved it to one of our bee yards at the Stratford Perth Museum.

Due to the impending storm, we made sure our “rescued” bees were safe until they could be placed into their new homes

early Saturday morning. Some time during the early hours of Saturday morning, a person or persons entered the bee yard,

busted up a couple of hives, busted up the catch boxes used to capture the bees, released the rescued bees and likely sprayed

them with insecticide, as there are tens of thousands of dead bees everywhere. Then they destroyed the honeycomb and honey

stores the bees needed to survive.

We were within a week of harvesting our first honey crop from that yard’s seven colonies. Due to this vandalism, we now

have to take samples of the dead and live bees and honey from each hive to send to Guelph to the chief apiarist to have them tested for contamination. If these hives come back positive, we would have no choice but to destroy the hives, kill the

remaining bees, and destroy the honey, as we could not allow tainted product or bees to leave our yard.

Best-case scenario, the bees aren’t tainted and the hives weren’t sprayed, but the loss of that many bees would seriously affect the year’s honey production. So good news, the cost of vandalism would set us back a month or so, with recovery costs up to $5,000; bad news would mean a total loss of the bee yard, which could mean upwards to $10,000 in total losses in bees, honey and equipment.

We got into the bee business to help the environment, save the bees, make a little profit hopefully, and enjoy the hobby of beekeeping.

This is not what we envisioned. It is not a cheap hobby, so when your dealt a devastating blow, it can be crippling to both the bankbook and your spirit.

We will learn from this; we have already started setting up cameras. Recovery may not be immediate, it may be costly, but we will recover and we will not let this act of cowardice stop us from doing what’s right for us and the environment.

Waltzing Bees Apiary is asking anyone who has knowledge or has information regarding this senseless and cowardly act to contact us either via email at waltzingbees@gmail.com or via phone at 519-272-4081. Your anonymity will be honoured, and you will have our greatest thanks. Anyone who would like to help us get back up and running again or assist financially, we would also be grateful. Donations can be made through etransfers to waltzingbees@gmail.com.

I thank you for your time and consideration in this matter, and on behalf of the bees I thank you as well.

Sincerest Regards,

Wilf Sukowski – Head Beekeeper

Waltzing Bees Apiary


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