HBRC Educational Resources Transcript

Hi there. We’re in the front yard of the Honeybee Research Center on a beautiful, sunny June afternoon. My name is Paul Kelly, and I’d like to talk to you today about the resources that we make available to beekeepers. Starting with our YouTube channel, you know about that because you’re there watching us right now. We have at this point about 80 videos that are freely available in English. But something you might not know is that our YouTube videos are translated into ten languages, most recently into the local language in Myanmar and in Ethiopia as well. So, what we do for countries that speak a different language, we give them free access to our videos so that they can translate them and post them on a YouTube channel of their own. That way we’re able to get information to other locations that would not otherwise receive it, and the local people can actually earn a little bit of income from posting these videos on their YouTube channel. In English, we prefer to have that hosted only on our channel because we do earn some income that goes toward producing other videos. 

The videos that we have, we’ve tried to make them short and practical, divide beekeeping up into simple bite-sized chunks, and we find that that helps us relay information well. We also are now doing more with social media and what we use this for mostly Facebook and Instagram, we use this for more timely information, short little videos, post pictures, and we cover activities that were involved in. But what we try to focus on is timely education for beekeepers. So we’ll be looking at our hives, seeing what’s happening at different times of year, talk about what we’ve done, talk about what we’re going to be doing next. And our goal with this is to help beekeepers along by comparing what we’re doing with what they’re doing. And we hope this is another way of sharing information. It’s kind of fun to do, too. We get to share some of the activities of the different people that we have here, and we’re really proud of the team that we have. Our team consists of university students that we hire from the summer. 

These students have taken an Apiculture course and they’re very keen to learn more about bees and bee research. We’re super lucky to have a large pool of students to draw from and so we get some excellent candidates in these positions. We do our best to retain these students so any knowledge they gain is useful for us in future years. We have a team of volunteers. These volunteers have taken a weekend-long beekeeping course, got their own bees, and they want to work with us to learn more and to contribute to our success. We find these volunteers provide continuity in our workplace because they stick around year after year. They’re required to donate a day, a week of their time through the entire beekeeping year so they know everything about what we do. We take on international interns. These interns are in some form of program where they’re required a work placement. We provide them with the experience. They provide us with excellent help. We have visiting scholars that come from around the world. 

They get plugged directly into research projects that we have ongoing and make significant contributions while they’re here. We have a student Apiculture club that’s been running since the 1800s. They get together and do some beekeeping activities. In the winter months, they do crafty activities where they’re making candles, lip balm, food wrap and packaging honey so that we can have sales and education events on campus and raise funds to donate to beekeeping development projects around the world. We have a website that we’ve put a considerable amount of effort into over the last 15 years. It’s now approximately 200 pages long and we have on that website everything from basic bee biology to beekeeping techniques to resources for beekeepers designs and plans for beekeeping equipment and a whole range of other pages that show things like the research that we’re doing promotes the courses and educational opportunities that we provide here, including the many tours that we do. We do approximately one, sometimes two tours a day at our facility here and at this point have about 4,000 people a year come to our center. 

We are building a new center. We had a groundbreaking last week and this is June of 2023. So that was really exciting. We’ve been working on this project for eight years now and we’re finally starting construction. It’s a $16 million center and we’ll be able to do much more in terms of education and research, both for beekeepers and for the general public. You’ll hear more about that coming up. We have one video already on our hive life photos, and that’s been one of our most successful educational ventures. You can watch that video and learn more about them. Those pictures are available for sale on our website as our memory sticks for our videos. So for people that can’t have access to good Internet, we sell all our videos on memory sticks and we’ve shipped many of them around the world for use in courses and for individual beekeepers. A lot of associations buy them so they can show our videos at their club meetings. I’ve mentioned the tours that we offer. We also do demonstrations for a large number of beekeeping groups here at our center, and we do evening presentations to many groups as well. 

And that’ll range from beekeepers to gardening clubs, service groups, quite a wide range of groups there. So in total, I do 150 to 200 presentations a year and our working group do as many as 300 presentations in a year. So we’re really trying to get out there and share the great news about bees. Let’s see what else we have going on here. We do a Buckfast breeding program. We’ve been registered Buckfast breeders since 1990. We have isolated mating islands in Lake Simcoe. Did one video on our bee yard in Thorah Island. We collaborate with Buckfast breeders in Ontario. We have a collective here called Buckfast, Ontario. And those other Buckfast breeders actually generate a larger number of queens than we do. They propagate stock and we collaborate on breeding. And our bees on Thorah Island provide a stud service for their queens. We also do low Varroa growth breeding and we’re very actively promoting that breeding method as widely as possible. We have three videos on that topic and we’re speaking a lot about that. 

Dr Nestor Guzman and our graduate student, Dr… well, Dr to me, Alvaro De la Mora do many presentations on that breeding work. We host events and get out and speak at other events as well. For example, this summer we’ll be going to the Eastern Apiculture Society. So come on, see us in Massachusetts. Our Honeybee Research Center team does the best it can to provide information that’s helpful to beekeepers. We want to see people have success in their beekeeping endeavours. I hope you enjoy your videos, but please don’t stop there. Check out our website and follow us on social media and look at the other resources we have available. Good luck with your bees. Thanks for watching and I’ll see you another time.