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Bees Gone Wild ~ The Buzz on Bees with Bee Butler Michael King (June 2015)

Fairmont Waterfront

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Here we are in mid June, hard to believe that the longest day of the year is but 10 days away!

The sunshine we have been enjoying of late has really accelerated the flow of nectar into the hives and when we inspected the hives last week some of the frames were simply bulging with capped honey. A single frame which is almost weightless when empty now can weigh close to 12 or even 15 pounds when fully laden with honey!

The good news in the hive where a new queen was being created is that she has been accepted by the hive and is now starting her lifetime career as mother to hundreds of thousands of bees , laying up to 1200 eggs a day when she reaches her egg laying peak!!

This time of the season is when the majority of the honey will be made and this hot dry weather means that flowers are blooming in ever larger numbers so supply is definitely there and all that is needed is for the foraging honey bees to harvest the nectar and bring it back to their hives to be stored and subsequently turned into honey.

The great weather can have a downside as a prolonged period of sunshine without any precipitation can leave plantlife drained and short of energy to rebloom or grow further and thus leading to a sudden drop in pollen and nectar flows. This can means that hives full of honey can start to lose that supply when the bees will start to use it as a food source when they cannot find it from flowers. Working as hard as they do they need the energy source to feed themselves and the pollen to feed the young larva. It is a fine balancing act.

Last week we also saw the opening of our first wild bee habitat at the Fairmont Waterfront and along with our partners, Burt’s Bees, Hives for Humanity, Sustainability TO and FRHI we gave life to a new habitat that was designed specifically to create nesting sites for our wild indigenous bee populations which are also threatened with survival due to the use of pesticides and insecticides and the removal of their natural habitats around the world . This nesting house is an initiative of enormous importance as it will help local wild bee populations regrow their populations by providing them a natural place to nest. The materials are all local and all natural and consist of windblown tree trunk sections, raspberry canes, ferns, nests made from sheeps wool and insulated with bay and laurel leaves and wrapped in dried English ivy vines, bamboo canes and some indigenous plant life all combined in various sections of this beautifully crafted bee house, a condominium for bees if you like!

The herb garden is beginning to look like a well ordered working garden with Kohlrabi, broccoli, Kale, Cabbage, Onions, Garlic, Beans, peas, chardonnay grapes, figs, peppers, pumpkins, tomatoes, basil, strawberries and apples all growing well in our little rooftop ‘micro-climate’.

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