Reagan Breeze, Dryden’s beekeeper extraordinaire, doesn’t just want to produce honey, he wants to save the bees and the world in the process.
With a collection of 42 honeybee hives and counting, ‘Beezer’s Honey’ message is honeybees may be like a canary in the coal mine warning us that we are at threat of dying off because we have changed our climate.
 
 
Reagan Breeze with his son checking the hives
 
Honeybees already have a special relation to humans, according to Breeze, because they are the only insect that processes a product for us to eat. And eat we do, to the tune of 75 million pounds a year in Canada alone.
 
What really drives Breeze to advocate for their survival goes well beyond just the production of honey. It is their role as pollinator that is most valuable to us as humans. Without their super-pollinating powers, another third of the food we eat could not exist.
 
“Honeybees are a dying breed responsible for the pollination of three-quarters of the plants that produce 90 per cent of the world’s food.” Breeze told us.
The fact that Honeybees have been dying off, in some areas as high as 90% and we do not know why has been well-publicized. It has inspired Reagan Breeze to do more than just raise honeybees.
 

Breeze’s Four Conservation Efforts

1.Honeybee Appreciation Months
 
Breeze wants towns and cities to declare the spring months April to June depending on the community’s latitude as honeybee appreciation month. So far, he has been successful with nearly every town in the 807 area.
 
The City of Dryden will recognize April and May as Honeybee Appreciation months.
 
During Honeybee Appreciation months Breeze explained what he wants!
 
“I know people are meticulous about their yard but without weeds and dandelions, it’s like a desert for the honeybees,” said Breeze. “Don’t rake your yard until it’s a solid 10 degrees outside because a lot of native butterflies and pollinators are hibernating underneath your leaf covers. So when you take that away you’re basically killing them. If you want to plant anything to help them, plant a sunflower. They love sunflowers, it’s a big plant and they get to do their business, they get a lot of pollen and a lot of nectar.”
 
2. Lawn Side Campaign
 
Coupled with the Honeybee Appreciation Month proclamation, Breeze has instituted a sign campaign so that when residents leave their spring flowers to grow and flower, their neighbours know what they are doing and why they are doing it. In addition, the town cooperates in not prosecuting them for violating grass cutting bylaws.
 
3. The Beezer HoneyBee Partnership Program
 
Breeze has developed a Beezer Honey partnership with 9 Northwestern Ontario businesses and one National company. Local companies such as Lake of the Woods Brewery Kenora and Patricia Inn Restaurant Dryden are placing hives on their rooftops. Honey harvested from the hives goes to the company to offset its costs for honey.
 
4. Children’s Beezer Honey Summer Camps
 
When Reagan Breeze got into the honey business he was startled to be the “only person in the room who did not have grey hair.”
 
As a result, this summer, Breeze, in partnership with Bee Maid Honey Ltd., one of Canada’s foremost honey retailers, is launching his first Junior Honeybee Keeper course for kids ages 4-12.
 
“I have 170 people registered in Dryden and 210 in Kenora. It’s a beautiful thing, to see young people want to get engaged with Honeybees and get educated.”
 
‘Beezer’s Honey’ was established in 1996 and offers a variety of honey made products, education, honeybee removal and more but maybe Reagan’s future lies in his conservation efforts than just as another producer of honey.
 
With notes from Carl Eisener and Sarah McCarthy of CKDR
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