No, that’s not Burt. It’s Stan Sandler.
Stan and I started beekeeping together on PEI almost 40 years ago. When we started keeping bees on PEI things were very different. Each April, a PEI beekeeper would drive to Florida in his truck and pick up the Island order of packages and drive back. We all gathered at a parking spot in Charlottetown and picked up our 2 lbs of bees and a queen. Sadly, at the end of the last bloom, Island beekeepers killed off their hives and put their equipment away until the next spring.
The new generation of beekeepers including myself, Stan, Larry Cosgrave and others did not believe we had to manage our bees in this way. We started overwintering using Buckfast queens and were very successful at bringing the bees through the long Maritime winter/spring. We were also the first to rent our bees to blueberry growers. I was the first to do so when I set hives out in J Angus MacLean’s (an MP a the time and later Premier of PEI> blueberry fields.
Today things have changed. I’m a hobby beekeeper in Ontario. The PEI lowbush blueberry industry has exploded. Blueberry fields fill many of the woodland meadows on the east end of the Island.
Stan kept on keeping bees and is easily the biggest beekeeper in PEI. This year Stan placed over 3,000 hives in Island blueberry fields!
This picture was taken after lunch. Stan and I had a little while to catch up and of course I pumped him for information about how he manages his hives. Stan has become a master beekeeper. He is thoughtful and very much into the science of beekeeping.
Today there are no tracheal mites on PEI and no Small Hive Beetle. The Island has
Stan Sandler, Iris PEI, Master Beekeeper
tried to isolate itself from diseases and Stan is doing his best to protect Island bees. But it’s probably only a matter of time until parasites make themselves across the Strait what with Nova Scotia beekeepers now placing their hives in PEI blueberry fields.
I’ll see Stan at Apimondia this year. But Ill miss the time we spent together sharing the chores of extracting and going on the Maritime beekeepers tours. Ill also miss those acres of clover and goldenrod on PEI.
See you in November, Stan.