New Hives at UBC Farm
July 7, 2007

"When we are in risky situations we often use force, but that does not work with the bees. Working with the bees has taught me that what the world really needs is compassion, respect and awareness. I am willing to risk exploring the unknown so I can be a part of the solution and not react to the world from a place of fear. As I pull the white suit over my head, I realize I cannot pretend that social, environmental or economical problems do not exist, but I can arm myself with knowledge, dreams and hope. I can add my teaspoon of honey to the future."

--Mackenzie Pierson
April 2007 newsletter,

News flash! UBC Farm has received nine hives from what was Mark Winston's research lab at SFU. Allen Garr, who is the beekeeper at VanDusen Gardens will also care for the bees with the help of several UBC Farm volunteers. Luckily, a new volunteer named Bruce is very confident with handling the hives and he spent part of Saturday talking to market-goers about the art of bee keeping.

The market was very busy, with people lining up as usual for those free-range eggs. According to come volunteer egg-collectors the new chickens are quite prolific egg-layers. Go chickens! Bruce's daughter showed me how she put a chicken to sleep by cradling it in her arms and gently bouncing on her heels.

It was nice to see so many families out for the market. UBC Farm is such a great place for kids to explore the environment...and leave messages for the bees! A wee Scottish lad left a message for the bees inspired by the football tournament currently in play. Apparently the Scots team mustn't have put enough honey on their porridge oats because they lost their game. Well, maybe next time they'll listen to the bees.

I was visited by another little boy with absolutely gorgeous flame-red hair who was a bit nervous around bees because he has recently been stung by one. We had a good chat, and we sent a message to the bees asking them not to sting him again. I had been warning people about hive 311--Bruce told me the guard bees were a bit "feisty", so it would be better if people don't stand directly in front of the entrance. Later, I noticed a third boy standing quite still in front of 311, but he was so mesmerized by the bees, I knew he'd be all right.

Speaking of stings, I ended up talking about the health benefits of bee venom therapy. One woman said that bee-sting therapy had been helpful for a friend suffering from MS. It may seem hard to imagine stinging yourself with a bee on purpose (apipuncture), but sometimes it seems to do the trick. For those of you who don't like the idea of being stung, you can even buy honey with bee venom added. ( There is also an apis remedy in homeopathy.

Here is a web site based out of Richmond, B.C., with more information on bee venom apitherapy ( or a check out the site out of Wales, with photos on how apitherapy is administered.

"Currently bee venom is being used with some success to treat MS. The enzyme 'Hyaluronidase' dissolves scar tissue on the myelin sheath, improving synaptic transmission. Other benefits include improved circulation, better bladder control, less fatigue and a feeling of 'well-being'. Many other conditions have been successfully treated using bee venom including asthma, PMT, male impotence." (

For more information on raw honey apitherapy--the health benefits of propolis and raw honey visit the web site for a wonderful honey farm called Honey Gardens, based in Vermont. Their elderberry syrup is fantastic! Their newsletters are really worth reading too.

For more information on UBC Farm, i.e. the weekly market (Saturdays from 9 am to 1 pm during market season), or volunteering opportunities at UBC Farm, please visit their web site. You can also sign up for an e-newsletter which gives you updates on what's happening at the farm. (

Beespeakers live long and healthy lives! I talked to a woman from England whose father was a beekeeper and a beespeaker. He spoke to his bees every day and he lived to be 95 years old! Another woman remembers hearing it was very important to tell the bees if a king or queen had died. Long live the queen bee!