Beekeeping business buzzing with activity during pandemic
‘There’s a little more to (beekeeping) than just throwing them in your backyard… and collecting honey from them for toast,’ says Mike Barks
“I was the kind of kid that was glued to the Discovery Channel. I was always interested in nature, birds, insects… that’s what always piqued my interest,” he says. “The bees were just always something that stuck out to me.
“I got into it with my dad, who’d met an old beekeeper here in Barrie and he showed us a few things. We eventually bought a couple of bee hives off of him and it just kind of grew from there.”
Since opening the doors of Barks Apiaries, located at 1503 Snow Valley Rd., business has been booming.
“Beekeeping seemed to really take off over the pandemic. People were stuck at home and looking for something to do, so a lot of people took up beekeeping,” Barks says. “When people think about beekeeping, they obviously think about honey, but there’s also candles, beeswax… creams, lotions, other skin care products.
“If you get into the commercial side of things… pollination is a pretty big thing right now. It’s always been a big industry, but even more so the last couple of years because we’ve had shortages of available bee hives,” he adds. “Big commercial companies (orchards) are looking for beekeepers to provide bees to pollinate the crops so they can actually produce a crop.”
For the typical hobbyist, however, beekeeping can also be relaxing.
“You purchase a couple of beehives and it’s much like having a pet… so there is a fair bit of work, which some people don’t realize until they get into it,” Barks says. “There’s a little more to it than just throwing them in your backyard… and collecting honey from them for toast.”
Barks suggests anyone interested in taking up beekeeping to first “do their research,” noting there can be a lot involved — in both cost and time.
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