(Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash)

Beekeeping Rossland boy finds human kindness sweet as honey

Family overwhelmed by kind offerings of strangers

A Rossland mom says she’s been overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers after thieves vandalized their family beehive a week ago.

Alicia Graham says they received dozens of offers of aid after from across southern B.C. to replace her son Jack’s hive and bees.

“Jack was just beside himself by the outpouring of support,” she says. “Beekeepers are a lovely sort — as are Rosslanders — as are the greater Kootenays, actually, because everyone has reached out far and wide from our Kootenay community.

“But we’ve also heard from beekeepers as far as Vancouver Island, from Creston and points east… so many offers of bees and hives, it’s been nuts.”

The Rossland News brought you the story last week when thieves went onto Graham’s property, found some industrial-strength wasp killer and sprayed it on the 13-year-old’s brand new beehive. His 99-year-old great-grandfather had just set up the hive for Jack two weeks earlier.

The family came home to find thousands of bees dead and dying all over their property.

At first the family despaired the bees and the hive were a write-off, or permanently damaged.

But Graham says one week later, the bees seem to be doing well.

“The bees look right as rain,” she says. “They are good to go. We spoke to the wasp-spray people, and they said it’s a contact spray, so if there’s no die-off now, they are good. It’s out of the hive and there’s nothing there.”

At first the family thought the hive’s honey-making had been compromised. But Graham now says it turns out that honey boxes had not been installed in Jack’s hives, so there’s no problem allowing the bees to start production.

“There’s no honey loss there now because the hive is so new,” she says.

The family is getting a new hive — they accepted the offer before they knew the extent of the damage — but since the insects are fine, that’s all they need for now, says Graham.

“It’s been my pleasure to be able to say to people, ‘we don’t need anything from you, but thank you so much,’” she says. “We’re so stoked the bees survived, like Jack says, they are just the sweetest little beehive. They’re troopers… they are just go, go, go.”

Jack’s great-grandfather is returning to Rossland next week, bringing the special boxes that collect the honey in the hive. Then it’s just a matter of picking up with his hobby — keeping and caring for the surviving bees.

Alicia Graham says it’s been a learning experience for her son.

“What he knows is someone he doesn’t know came into his space and did this horrific thing,” says Graham. “But then a ton more people he doesn’t know came into his life — and his heart — and did something so much more powerful.

“Jack’s realizing he belongs to a community he didn’t know he even had.”

 

Jack Gray has received an outpouring of support after someone vandalized and poisoned his beehive. Photo courtesy Graham family

Jack Gray (in protective clothing) and his 99-year-old great-grandfather, installing the hive in the boy’s backyard last month. Photo courtesy Graham family

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