Reece and Echo Chandler co-own south-central Alberta’s Scandia Honey. Scandia Honey is one of the largest beekeeping businesses in Canada. It is focused on the crop pollinating side of the bee business, although honey production is critical to the company, too.
A Calgary couple, Reece and Echo met in school. Reece’s roots were not in beekeeping. After university, Reece owned a painting contractor business. While goose hunting, he met Ed Willms, a commercial beekeeper in Scandia, Alberta, two hours southeast of Calgary. In 1996, Reece and Echo moved to the small remote town, bought Willm’s thousand colonies, and expanded the outfit ten-fold. One key to their success was the proximity of hybrid canola seed production, which requires a massive concentration of honey bees rented from beekeepers, such as the Chandlers’.
Over the past 27 years, Reece and Echo learned to winter thousands of colonies in climate-controlled sheds, handle the importation of packages from New Zealand, move thousands of colonies into canola fields, maintain those hives (which don’t usually produce honey because of their 400 colonies/quarter section density), then relocate the bees to better honey areas after canola pollination ends, extract a million pounds of honey, ship their white honey to buyers around the world, and finally, prepare the colonies for winter. A true family business, Reece and Echo’s daughter Tique packs a honey line, Chandler Honey, which brings pure, mild Alberta honey to Toronto.
Reece will be presenting about the challenges of managing 35 employees and operating an expansive honey and pollination business.