Lakeland Bee Club fostering beekeeping education

Founded just two years ago, the club has quickly become a hive of activity, drawing in members eager to explore the fascinating world of beekeeping.

“So, we're two years old. We started last year,” says Diane Jenkinson of the 18-member Lakeland Bee Club, reflecting on the club's growth since its inception.

The club's activities center around three hives, serving as educational hubs and honey-producing colonies. As the club expands, so does its commitment to supporting members in their beekeeping endeavours. "We have three hives, but we'll be selling the bees in the third hive to one of our members," explains Jenkinson, highlighting the club's collaborative spirit.

Membership in the Lakeland Bee Club comes with its perks, including access to educational resources and hive visits. "How we work it is that a membership costs $80 for a year and then we also have associate membership for $30 and then you get one hive visit and then you pay $5 for subsequent hive visits sort of thing," she said outlining the club's membership structure.

Funds generated through membership fees are reinvested back into the club to purchase supplies and equipment, ensuring the sustainability of club activities. "What we do with that membership is, one, we started the club with the hives and everything. This year we actually bought some more things. We wanted to buy a honey extractor, but unfortunately, we couldn't meet the price. So, the $80 year-long membership goes back into the club to buy supplies and things like that," elaborates Jenkinson on the club's financial model.

Throughout the year, the club hosts a variety of meetings and educational sessions aimed at equipping members with the knowledge and skills needed for successful beekeeping. "We started up again in February. So those were evening meetings where we do the education part, especially for new members," explains Jenkinson, shedding light on the club's commitment to continuous learning.

However, beekeeping does not come without its regulations, particularly in municipalities like the M.D of Bonnyville and the City of Cold Lake. In these areas, regulations govern hive placement, hive size, and beekeeper responsibilities to ensure the safety and well-being of both bees and residents.

For instance, in the M.D of Bonnyville, regulations stipulate that hives must be located a minimum distance from property lines and public spaces, with a maximum of two hives per property, according to the M.D of Bonnyville Beehive regulations.

Similarly, the City of Cold Lake requires beekeepers to adhere to strict guidelines regarding hive placement, training, and insurance coverage.

Navigating these regulations is part of the learning process for aspiring beekeepers. "It's only one [hive] you're allowed in Cold Lake, and then they want you to take a beekeeping course," explains Jenkinson, emphasizing the difference in regulations and the importance of education in responsible beekeeping practices.

Despite the challenges and regulations, the Lakeland Bee Club remains steadfast in its mission to promote beekeeping as a rewarding and enriching hobby. "Because it's actually, interestingly enough, what you learn in this club is that beekeeping is an expensive hobby," remarks Jenkinson, acknowledging the investment required to embark on this journey.

The Lakeland Bee Club can be found on social media at “Lakeland Bee Club - Treaty six.”


Chantel Downes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Lakeland This Week