Sask. honey company helping bees with pollinator pasture program
Sun River Honey is implementing a pollinator pasture program – for every jar of their honey sold they will plant a square foot of pollinator pasture.
“We saw the need when we were beekeeping,” said Aaron Comerford, president of the Grandora, Sask. business.
Bees were at risk and without them, a lot of foods would not exist. It would also affect most animals that depend on them.
Henry Comerford began to create pastures to help improve forage for the bees and other pollinators.
“We have three sites and I would say they are about an acre each so far. What we are hoping is that this is just the beginning for those sites,” said Comerford.
Henry and Sara Comerford started Sun River Honey in 1997 and were primarily beekeepers with primary production of honey until a few years ago.
Sun River Honey today is known for its soft and spreadable honey. Most are infused with extra flavour like cinnamon or chipotle. They offer eight different variations.
With years of experience at beekeepers, the family knew they needed to give back and it was then they decided to implement their pollinator pasture program.
“Pollen is the honey bees protein source and nectar is their carbohydrate source so they need both of those from flowers in order to build up colony populations that help them to get through the winter,” said Arthur Davis, a bee expert at the University of Saskatchewan.
“Honey bees are still under some duress. There’s a lot of challenges in the beekeeping industry and among them is a very bad mite pest known as the Varroa mite and this is a continual battle for beekeepers in Saskatchewan, across the country and certainly around the world,” said Davis
Davis also added that it is important for landowners and gardeners to avoid spraying pesticides when plants are in bloom.
Comerford hopes their program will inspire others to get involved and consider planting a variety of plants that bloom at different times throughout the year in their gardens.
Comerford said the outcome since they began their pollinator pasture program has been positive.
“We definitely saw honey flows coming in to our hives during the spring and the fall when they weren’t before. In our locations we didn’t have the pollinator pastures developed yet in was a stark difference from the yards that had pollinator pastures and the yards that didn’t.”