Executive Nominations – Biographies

BCHPA President:  Heather Higo

Heather began beekeeping as an undergrad student with no bee knowledge in 1987, and was solidly hooked on bees and bee research after that first summer!  She completed her Master’s in Dr. Mark Winston’s lab at SFU in 1994 and continued working in bee research, running Winston’s SFU bee lab and mentoring students until it closed in 2007.  Since then she has maintained her own bees while continuing work on several bee research projects at UBC in Dr. Leonard Foster’s lab including the BeeIPM, BeeOmics, Bee Health in Blueberries, and the current BeeCSI project.  In 2019 she also managed a field project testing a potential new miticide with SFU chemist Dr. Erika Plettner.  Research interests include honey bee health, pathogens and pests; blueberry pollination and the effects of agriculture management on pollinators; queen breeding and overwintering.

In January 2017, Heather was recognized for her contributions to the Canadian beekeeping industry with the 2016 Fred Rathje memorial award from the Canadian Honey Council and in 2018 her contributions were recognized with the BCHPA President’s award.

Currently, while working as Project Field Manager on the UBC BeeCSI project, Heather continues to run a small honey bee queen rearing and nuc production operation in the Fraser Valley and gives extension talks in the bee community.


CHC Representative:  Stan Reist

I started beekeeping in 1992 which was 2 years after my wife bought 2 hives to pollinate our fruit trees.  Cheryl built up to 35 – 40 hives and then we bought out Kent Hoops in Black Creek. We now had two hundred and forty hives and a contract to pollinate Cranberries. We increased our hive count to four hundred which were required for pollination the pollination contract.

We joined the B.C.H.P.A. and the local Nanaimo Club.  I have held many positions in the Nanaimo club over the years, and representative the club at the Provincial level.  I was the rep for the Mid Island for many years and was elected to the executive of the B.C.H.P.A.  I have held most positions on the executive such as 4 years as President but with exception of treasurer and secretary (because nobody can understand my writing).  As part of the Nanaimo Club we hosted the B.C.H.P.A. AGM with great success as club members we also participated in the annual Fall Fairs.  We won ribbons for the best display for several years running.

Cheryl and I opened the Flying Dutchman bee supply store many years ago because supplies were always a week away and so we brought the supplies local.  We produced many packages from island hives in the late nineties and early two-thousands.  For the past number of years, we have been importing early New Zealand package bees and have concentrated on producing Nucs which has been increasing in numbers every year.  We belong to most of the bee clubs on the Island and have served brief positions on some of the executives.

I was president of the B.C.H.P.A. for a number of years and one of the most important item on my list was to present education.  Our coffers we not that well off and by doing education, we were able to ease our financial situation. Since then the Association under various presidents have also stayed with the education theme and we have prospered.

When I was on the C.H.C. before 2002 2004, the B.C.H.P.A. had a mandate to open the border to the importation of Queens from the Centennial U.S.  Along with Heather Clay the CEO of the Honey Council we were able to host a meeting in Kelowna with all the Provincial Reps, Provincial Apiculturists and Provincial Presidents to come to an agreement on the importation of Queens. We accomplished this in four days and then we had the BCHPA convention.

As your B.C.H.P.A. Rep on the Canadian Honey Council right now, I have been working on stock replacement to help Canadian beekeepers to raise replacement stock for winter losses. We have been working with other Provinces to make it easier safer to transport inspected stock between provinces.  As the CHC we hosted Apimondia in Montreal and that was a great success.  The revenue from that has allowed the CHC to help Canadian farmers with foreign workers to run their farms in a time when there is a lot of uncertainty.  The Honey Council is helping to open up foreign markets for the sale of honey and under Covid-19 to secure the importation of replacement bees for the spring along with the availability of foreign workers to staff the apiary operations.

I am running again for the position of your CHC representative for the BCHPA.  I would like to continue the work that has been started and ongoing. We presently import approximately $11,000,000 million dollars of bee stock a year.  I really would like to see a good portion of that end up in Canadian pockets and hopefully B.C. pockets.  We have work to do with honey sales to foreign markets some of which are now just reopening which is exciting news for our beekeepers.  There are some MRL’s (maximum residues levels) missing in honey analysis.  This has been brought to our attention and we have started the process to address this.  We have had meetings with our American counterparts and laid to rest some misconceptions about our honey product, testing and the ability to remove product from the shelf.  It appears that we have better regulations than they.  There are some other items that are in the background that will also need to be addressed and we’re doing that.  Fumagilin-B is now back on the market and available to beekeepers. We are working on Oxalic Acid glycerin formula for treatment of mites. These are but a few things that need doing.

In closing, I would solicit your support for the position of CHC rep.

Stan Reist


BCHPA Treasurer: Irene Tiampo

Irene Tiampo I have been involved in keeping bees since the mid-1970’s when my husband and I moved to a farm in Abbotsford. Moving to Victoria in the early 2000’s, I joined the Capital Regional Beekeeping Association and was on the executive as secretary until March 2020. I attended the BC Honey Producers’ Association’s annual general meeting in Kelowna in 2013 where I was elected as secretary. In December of that year, the treasurer resigned I then took over as secretary/treasurer of the BCHPA until another secretary was named. I have been the treasurer of the association for 6 years. I am the Saanich Fair convenor for the honey section of the Fair. I am a qualified honey judge under Larry Lindahl’s teachings. I have judged the honey section of 4H in Coombs and Cowichan Fairs. I run a family business in Victoria which is property management.


BCHPA Treasurer: Carolyn Essaunce

Carolyn spent 10 years as a Commercial Pilot, including 4 years in Northern Canada as a bush pilot, before partnering with an Organic Farm in South Surrey and starting a seasonal CSA
(Community Supported Agriculture). Through farming, she discovered pollinators and fell in love with honeybees. She took her first beekeeping course in 2015 and has since graduated from the KPU Commercial Beekeeping Program, worked under 3 commercial beekeepers, started 2 businesses and completed her Beemasters at UBC. Carolyn was the Chief Beekeeper for KPUs 400 colony operation for 3 years before launching into The Honest to Goodness Farm Company full time, a 150 colony operation that specializes in Queen Rearing. Her profits from this work are re-invested into pollinator conservation winning her business the Langley Environmental Hero award in 2019. Carolyn also offers mentorship to hobby beekeepers and hosts a podcast, The Honest Bee, aimed at educating beekeepers in Canada. In 2019, Carolyn co-founded Corbicula Pollen Ltd., a company that specializes in bee pollen production and processing. Carolyn has a passion for spreadsheets, budgets and the outdoors. She spends her very rare days off hiking and snowshoeing through Western Canada.

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