Neonicotinoid ban pleases Copetown lavender farmer

News Sep 24, 2015 by Dianne Cornish, Special to the Review Flamborough Review

Kevin Beagle is a lavender farmer who dabbles in beekeeping.

The West Flamborough farmer and co-owner of Weir’s Lane Lavender Farm and Apiary would like to keep more honeybees, but not while his annual hive losses every winter average between 50 and 60 percent.

Down to just three hives from the 12 to 15 when he started keeping bees in 2010, Beagle vows he won’t reinvest until the trend of bee colony collapse reverses.

He’s hopeful that will happen now that a progressive ban against neonicotinoids is in place in Ontario. The ban, which will come into full effect by 2017, was imposed because research suggests that the insecticide, widely used on soybeans and corn crops, is responsible for the record numbers of honeybee deaths in the province.

Beekeepers and Ontario farming organizations are at loggerheads over the ban, with the latter claiming that the insecticide is a vital pest management tool, but Beagle and others who keep bees contend that research favouring the ban is more plausible than the arguments from cash crop farmers advocating the lifting of the ban.

Beagle, who is widely quoted in an article about the ongoing controversy in the 2016 edition of Harrowsmith’s Almanac, said he’s convinced the insecticides are, at the very least, “a contributor” to bee colony collapse.

“They’re probably not the number one problem but they’re a problem,” he said. “I certainly find research pointing to the insecticide as being a problem is more credible than the research that says it’s not a problem.”

As a result, he wholeheartedly supports the ban and is looking forward to the data that will come out after it has been fully implemented in Ontario.

While it’s too early to document results of the Ontario ban, data is now starting to surface from Europe, which is in the midst of a two-year ban on the insecticide. “That’s going to be compelling information,” Beagle declared.

In the almanac article entitled “What’s Killing Our Country Bees?” the Flamborough farmer states, “This (bee colony collapse) isn’t just extinguishing bees – it’s also extinguishing beekeepers. If you can’t make money off of it, then people won’t keep bees.”

Because only five percent of his operation is tied to beekeeping, with lavender production accounting for the balance of his farming business, Beagle considers himself fortunate. Still, he has a lot of empathy for “the guy who is a 100 per cent beekeeper.”

Of those debating the insecticide issue, “not many talk about the guy whose living is really threatened,” he noted.

A member of the Ontario Beekeepers Association, Beagle said he was contacted by the writer of the Harrowsmith article over the past winter.

The publisher of the almanac, Yolanda Thornton, is a Hamilton resident and knew of his involvement in beekeeping through the Rotary Club of Dundas. Beagle is a member of the club and Thornton, who was on leave from Rotary at the time, is now also a member of the Dundas organization.

Beagle and Thornton will be appearing this Friday from 9:15 to 9:30 a.m. on CHCH TV’s Morning Live to discuss the 2016 almanac, which began appearing on newsstands across Canada earlier this month. They’ll be commenting on the article about the bee controversy, but Beagle also plans to talk about his lavender farm and the hazelnut trees that dot the landscape of the 11-acre farm.

The farm has 250 hazelnut trees and three-and-a-half acres of lavender, as well as a healthy crop of sunflowers added to the mix this year. It also includes a native species pollination garden, put in two years ago with guidance and support from the Hamilton-Halton Watershed Stewardship Program. The garden gives the honeybees a healthy source of food nearby, Beagle explained.

The hives on the lavender farm are tended by Luc Peters, a contract beekeeper from Hamilton; Beagle says he “helps out with the bees,” but lavender production is his primary job.

“I’m working far harder at this than I ever imagined,” he confided. A technology worker who sold software related to the stock market for 28 years before turning his hand to farming, Beagle and his wife and business partner, Abigail Payne, moved to West Flamborough from Toronto in 2008, starting their lavender farm two years later.

Payne, a professor of economics at McMaster University, looks after the social media and accounting aspects of the farm while Beagle looks after the lavender production and retail of lavender products.

The farm has an on-site store featuring an array of products, including lavender creams, lotions, sprays, soaps, teas, culinary items, sachets, therapeutic pillows, lavender-infused honey and beeswax items.

“We manufacture over 100 products, most of them on site, except for culinary products which we make at a certified facility,” Beagle said.

On weekends, during “the prime season,” mid-June through mid-August, it’s not unusual for the farm to host 800 to 1,000 visitors on weekends. They tour the farm and visit the store, which is open year-round but at reduced hours during the off-season.

Now in its shoulder season, the farm is less busy, but there is still plenty of work to do. Up until the third week of October, Beagle will be getting the lavender plants ready for winter, pruning and doing general cleanup.

Now 60, he plans to continue farming until retiring. He also plans to add hazelnut products to his store’s inventory and he wants to continue offering lavender-infused honey year-round and regular honey seasonally. He needs the bees for both products and he also needs them to pollinate his nut trees.

That’s why he’s hopeful the Ontario ban on the use of neonicotinoids will resuscitate the beekeeping industry so it can continue for many years to come.

Neonicotinoid ban pleases Copetown lavender farmer

News Sep 24, 2015 by Dianne Cornish, Special to the Review Flamborough Review

Kevin Beagle is a lavender farmer who dabbles in beekeeping.

The West Flamborough farmer and co-owner of Weir’s Lane Lavender Farm and Apiary would like to keep more honeybees, but not while his annual hive losses every winter average between 50 and 60 percent.

Down to just three hives from the 12 to 15 when he started keeping bees in 2010, Beagle vows he won’t reinvest until the trend of bee colony collapse reverses.

He’s hopeful that will happen now that a progressive ban against neonicotinoids is in place in Ontario. The ban, which will come into full effect by 2017, was imposed because research suggests that the insecticide, widely used on soybeans and corn crops, is responsible for the record numbers of honeybee deaths in the province.

Beekeepers and Ontario farming organizations are at loggerheads over the ban, with the latter claiming that the insecticide is a vital pest management tool, but Beagle and others who keep bees contend that research favouring the ban is more plausible than the arguments from cash crop farmers advocating the lifting of the ban.

Beagle, who is widely quoted in an article about the ongoing controversy in the 2016 edition of Harrowsmith’s Almanac, said he’s convinced the insecticides are, at the very least, “a contributor” to bee colony collapse.

“They’re probably not the number one problem but they’re a problem,” he said. “I certainly find research pointing to the insecticide as being a problem is more credible than the research that says it’s not a problem.”

As a result, he wholeheartedly supports the ban and is looking forward to the data that will come out after it has been fully implemented in Ontario.

While it’s too early to document results of the Ontario ban, data is now starting to surface from Europe, which is in the midst of a two-year ban on the insecticide. “That’s going to be compelling information,” Beagle declared.

In the almanac article entitled “What’s Killing Our Country Bees?” the Flamborough farmer states, “This (bee colony collapse) isn’t just extinguishing bees – it’s also extinguishing beekeepers. If you can’t make money off of it, then people won’t keep bees.”

Because only five percent of his operation is tied to beekeeping, with lavender production accounting for the balance of his farming business, Beagle considers himself fortunate. Still, he has a lot of empathy for “the guy who is a 100 per cent beekeeper.”

Of those debating the insecticide issue, “not many talk about the guy whose living is really threatened,” he noted.

A member of the Ontario Beekeepers Association, Beagle said he was contacted by the writer of the Harrowsmith article over the past winter.

The publisher of the almanac, Yolanda Thornton, is a Hamilton resident and knew of his involvement in beekeeping through the Rotary Club of Dundas. Beagle is a member of the club and Thornton, who was on leave from Rotary at the time, is now also a member of the Dundas organization.

Beagle and Thornton will be appearing this Friday from 9:15 to 9:30 a.m. on CHCH TV’s Morning Live to discuss the 2016 almanac, which began appearing on newsstands across Canada earlier this month. They’ll be commenting on the article about the bee controversy, but Beagle also plans to talk about his lavender farm and the hazelnut trees that dot the landscape of the 11-acre farm.

The farm has 250 hazelnut trees and three-and-a-half acres of lavender, as well as a healthy crop of sunflowers added to the mix this year. It also includes a native species pollination garden, put in two years ago with guidance and support from the Hamilton-Halton Watershed Stewardship Program. The garden gives the honeybees a healthy source of food nearby, Beagle explained.

The hives on the lavender farm are tended by Luc Peters, a contract beekeeper from Hamilton; Beagle says he “helps out with the bees,” but lavender production is his primary job.

“I’m working far harder at this than I ever imagined,” he confided. A technology worker who sold software related to the stock market for 28 years before turning his hand to farming, Beagle and his wife and business partner, Abigail Payne, moved to West Flamborough from Toronto in 2008, starting their lavender farm two years later.

Payne, a professor of economics at McMaster University, looks after the social media and accounting aspects of the farm while Beagle looks after the lavender production and retail of lavender products.

The farm has an on-site store featuring an array of products, including lavender creams, lotions, sprays, soaps, teas, culinary items, sachets, therapeutic pillows, lavender-infused honey and beeswax items.

“We manufacture over 100 products, most of them on site, except for culinary products which we make at a certified facility,” Beagle said.

On weekends, during “the prime season,” mid-June through mid-August, it’s not unusual for the farm to host 800 to 1,000 visitors on weekends. They tour the farm and visit the store, which is open year-round but at reduced hours during the off-season.

Now in its shoulder season, the farm is less busy, but there is still plenty of work to do. Up until the third week of October, Beagle will be getting the lavender plants ready for winter, pruning and doing general cleanup.

Now 60, he plans to continue farming until retiring. He also plans to add hazelnut products to his store’s inventory and he wants to continue offering lavender-infused honey year-round and regular honey seasonally. He needs the bees for both products and he also needs them to pollinate his nut trees.

That’s why he’s hopeful the Ontario ban on the use of neonicotinoids will resuscitate the beekeeping industry so it can continue for many years to come.

Neonicotinoid ban pleases Copetown lavender farmer

News Sep 24, 2015 by Dianne Cornish, Special to the Review Flamborough Review

Kevin Beagle is a lavender farmer who dabbles in beekeeping.

The West Flamborough farmer and co-owner of Weir’s Lane Lavender Farm and Apiary would like to keep more honeybees, but not while his annual hive losses every winter average between 50 and 60 percent.

Down to just three hives from the 12 to 15 when he started keeping bees in 2010, Beagle vows he won’t reinvest until the trend of bee colony collapse reverses.

He’s hopeful that will happen now that a progressive ban against neonicotinoids is in place in Ontario. The ban, which will come into full effect by 2017, was imposed because research suggests that the insecticide, widely used on soybeans and corn crops, is responsible for the record numbers of honeybee deaths in the province.

Beekeepers and Ontario farming organizations are at loggerheads over the ban, with the latter claiming that the insecticide is a vital pest management tool, but Beagle and others who keep bees contend that research favouring the ban is more plausible than the arguments from cash crop farmers advocating the lifting of the ban.

Beagle, who is widely quoted in an article about the ongoing controversy in the 2016 edition of Harrowsmith’s Almanac, said he’s convinced the insecticides are, at the very least, “a contributor” to bee colony collapse.

“They’re probably not the number one problem but they’re a problem,” he said. “I certainly find research pointing to the insecticide as being a problem is more credible than the research that says it’s not a problem.”

As a result, he wholeheartedly supports the ban and is looking forward to the data that will come out after it has been fully implemented in Ontario.

While it’s too early to document results of the Ontario ban, data is now starting to surface from Europe, which is in the midst of a two-year ban on the insecticide. “That’s going to be compelling information,” Beagle declared.

In the almanac article entitled “What’s Killing Our Country Bees?” the Flamborough farmer states, “This (bee colony collapse) isn’t just extinguishing bees – it’s also extinguishing beekeepers. If you can’t make money off of it, then people won’t keep bees.”

Because only five percent of his operation is tied to beekeeping, with lavender production accounting for the balance of his farming business, Beagle considers himself fortunate. Still, he has a lot of empathy for “the guy who is a 100 per cent beekeeper.”

Of those debating the insecticide issue, “not many talk about the guy whose living is really threatened,” he noted.

A member of the Ontario Beekeepers Association, Beagle said he was contacted by the writer of the Harrowsmith article over the past winter.

The publisher of the almanac, Yolanda Thornton, is a Hamilton resident and knew of his involvement in beekeeping through the Rotary Club of Dundas. Beagle is a member of the club and Thornton, who was on leave from Rotary at the time, is now also a member of the Dundas organization.

Beagle and Thornton will be appearing this Friday from 9:15 to 9:30 a.m. on CHCH TV’s Morning Live to discuss the 2016 almanac, which began appearing on newsstands across Canada earlier this month. They’ll be commenting on the article about the bee controversy, but Beagle also plans to talk about his lavender farm and the hazelnut trees that dot the landscape of the 11-acre farm.

The farm has 250 hazelnut trees and three-and-a-half acres of lavender, as well as a healthy crop of sunflowers added to the mix this year. It also includes a native species pollination garden, put in two years ago with guidance and support from the Hamilton-Halton Watershed Stewardship Program. The garden gives the honeybees a healthy source of food nearby, Beagle explained.

The hives on the lavender farm are tended by Luc Peters, a contract beekeeper from Hamilton; Beagle says he “helps out with the bees,” but lavender production is his primary job.

“I’m working far harder at this than I ever imagined,” he confided. A technology worker who sold software related to the stock market for 28 years before turning his hand to farming, Beagle and his wife and business partner, Abigail Payne, moved to West Flamborough from Toronto in 2008, starting their lavender farm two years later.

Payne, a professor of economics at McMaster University, looks after the social media and accounting aspects of the farm while Beagle looks after the lavender production and retail of lavender products.

The farm has an on-site store featuring an array of products, including lavender creams, lotions, sprays, soaps, teas, culinary items, sachets, therapeutic pillows, lavender-infused honey and beeswax items.

“We manufacture over 100 products, most of them on site, except for culinary products which we make at a certified facility,” Beagle said.

On weekends, during “the prime season,” mid-June through mid-August, it’s not unusual for the farm to host 800 to 1,000 visitors on weekends. They tour the farm and visit the store, which is open year-round but at reduced hours during the off-season.

Now in its shoulder season, the farm is less busy, but there is still plenty of work to do. Up until the third week of October, Beagle will be getting the lavender plants ready for winter, pruning and doing general cleanup.

Now 60, he plans to continue farming until retiring. He also plans to add hazelnut products to his store’s inventory and he wants to continue offering lavender-infused honey year-round and regular honey seasonally. He needs the bees for both products and he also needs them to pollinate his nut trees.

That’s why he’s hopeful the Ontario ban on the use of neonicotinoids will resuscitate the beekeeping industry so it can continue for many years to come.