Brainy Bee is closing after 22 years in the Okanagan honey business – Kelowna News

Cindy White

They’ve seen a lot of changes in their part of Kelowna over the past 22 years.

The owners of Brainy Bee Honey on Valley Road hosted a yard sale this weekend, as they prepare to sell their home, land and bees and move back to Saskatchewan.

“It’s been fun,” said co-owner Kaye Chisholm.

“Big learning curve, but enjoyable and you meet lots of wonderful people. And the bees are fascinating, which is I guess the most important part. [That] you enjoy what you’re working with,” she adds.

When they moved into their property, there was mostly just farmland and a few homes nearby, but now the area is a beehive of building activity, with new townhomes popping up right across the street.

“What was once a very quiet, little secondary road is developing into almost a thoroughfare, because they’re bypassing Glenmore, it’s so busy now,” said Chisholm.

They have 15 hives up for sale, and she’s hoping someone will take them over and continue offering a valuable service to the farming community.

“You’ve got the orchards and the orchard is crying for bees and there’s not enough bees for pollination,” she notes. “There’s a demand for them, no question.”

The family has had a few offers on the property and the bees. Until a sale is finalized their retirement in Saskatchewan is delayed.

She’ll miss the weather and the people in Kelowna, but Kaye is looking forward to spending more time with her grandchildren and reconnecting with friends she left behind when they moved here and started Brainy Bee from scratch 22 years ago.

She also wants to relax and do some sewing and gardening and maybe take up painting.

The commercial apiary industry is facing some serious challenges.

The spread of varroa mites and deformed wing virus (DWV) is killing bees in large numbers across Canada, and some producers are leaving the industry because they are losing too much money.

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