N.S. family suits up to rescue unwanted bees

The courtyard next to the Dugas family’s house was bustling with activity.

Amanda and Lonnie Dugas, and their children, Gregory, 17, and Sarah, 14, have about half a dozen hives on their Brentwood, NS, property.

Amanda Dugas, a Mi’kmaw student support worker at a local high school, never saw herself as a beekeeper. When an opportunity came up for her to take a summer course in beekeeping with her daughter a few years ago, they took off. Soon, the whole family put on their bee suits to take care of the hive.

“It was like a family that helped us through the pandemic. It gave us something to do because we couldn’t go anywhere,” Amanda Dugas said.

Lonnie and Amanda Dugas have more than half a dozen bee colonies at their Brentwood home. (Steve Lawrence / CBC News)

In the fall, they sell honey from their warehouse, but in the summer, Gregory and Sarah take the extra time to make house calls to safely remove the hive from everyone’s home.

Most of them are wild wasps that they move to farms that want to eat insects.

Amanda Dugas said some people still consider bees to be pests, and even try to kill bees with pesticides.

But she says awareness of the importance of bees to the ecosystem has led to an increase in demand for their rescue services each year.

“People are willing to pay a few teenagers to come into their homes and safely, humanely remove bees from their homes, knowing that these bees are going somewhere to be cared for,” she said. squirrel.

Based on data from the Association of Professional Caterpillars of CanadaLargest known number of bees surviving winter 2020-21 in Nova Scotia since such reporting began in 2007.

Prospects encourage

That success is partly due to the fact that bee imports are banned in Nova Scotia, according to Tyler Hobbs, president of the Nova Scotia Beekeepers Association.

“We really have to rely on each other right here in this province. If disaster strikes in the winter, we need each other. We are each other’s answer to get out of it,” Hobbs said.

Tyler Hobbs is the president of the Nova Scotia Beekeepers Association. (CBC)

“So that really makes Nova Scotia quite unique when it comes to beekeeping and really puts our focus on where we put our efforts, money and time to make sure that the Our bodies are stable.”

Over the past few years, he says, appreciation for bees has grown “by leaps and bounds”.

“People once saw a bee and killed it. Now people give it water or some honey to see if it will grow up and fly away again,” he said.

The Dugas children said they understand that some people are afraid of bees. Sarah herself was “terrified” when she first came into contact with their hive. But after a few years with them, both say their favorite thing about bees is that they are so docile.

They even taught their friends about bees.

The ‘gentle’ creatures

Some of them were scared, but I’ve had a few friends go beekeeping with me and they say it’s been quite a fun experience and they really like how gentle bees can be. ,” said Gregory.

Dugas Bees, a family business, produces honey and humanely removes unwanted bees from people’s property. (Steve Lawrence / CBC News)

Finally, Gregory wants people to know that bees don’t pose any real danger.

“It’s good to have them in your yard – better pollinators of the flowers and plants in your yard. And they don’t harm you unless you harm them.”

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