New bee keeper in Burquitlam
In the spring of 2011, Ted Gaylie, a pioneer of the Burquitlam Community Organic Gardens Society, was working in the city park at Ebert Avenue and Whiting Way when a society member told him about the dwindling number of mason bees at the gardens.
From then on, Gaylie took a keen interest in the benign insects and became the official beekeeper, cleaning the tubular homes in their wooden structures to chase away mites.
This month, Gaylie gave up his job as beekeeper and passed the torch to new society member Brian Christensen, a Burnaby resident who has more than 20 years of experience with mason bees.
Today, the gardens have around 600 mason bees, which pollinate the fruits, flowers and vegetables in the 76 plots.
Newly elected president Humera Ahsanullah said the society supplied more than 1,000 lb. of fresh produce last year to the Share food bank — thanks, in part, to the busy bees.