Honeybees at the COC


The Canadian Opera Company is delighted to be part of the ever-growing support of honeybees, Currently we host seven hives onthe roof of our opera house, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Follow the honeybees' progress on Parlando, with visits and posts from beekeeper Fred Davis!

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Update from Fred

Beekeeper Fred Davis updates us on the honeybees' progress:

I've been trying to keep a watchful eye on the two hives during this summer. It's been hot and muggy and I was concerned that the humidity would have a negative impact on how much capped honey we would get this season and on the bees' overall behaviour. The bees will not add the important enzyme that preserves honey or cap the cells where the nectar is stored it until the humidity level of the nectar is about 18%. Honeybees stand at the opening to the hive and use their wings as fans to cool it off. That helps to maintain a 93 degree F temperature within.
Well, the bees surprised us all. Two weeks ago we removed and spun out about 80 lbs of honey. The honey frames went back on the hive two days later. We hope to get a good second harvest some time in the early Fall.

And here are some pictures, taken by Fred's wife, Barb.

Look how tall our bee hives are! They're bee condominiums now!

Fred smokes the bees, to relax them, making removal of the frames easier for everyone.

Fred's son, Sam, gives the thumbs up. This was an unbelieveably hot and humid day to be so heavily covered up.

Some of the frames had been removed at this point.

Sam checks out a frame.

The raw honey is simply poured through a sieve to keep out any large, unwanted bits. The rest is pure, edible sweetness!

Thanks Fred! And thanks bees!

Posted by Gianna Wichelow / in Update from Fred / comments (2) / permalink

Hank Lobbenberg (9/4/2010 8:51:45 PM)
Gianna: Hope you had a great summer. One question about the bees and the honey, Honey. Will any of it be available for sale to the public? Some people believe that honey from a truly local source (Centre Island for the COC bees) can act as an immune system enhancer. Ciao, Hank
Gianna Wichelow (9/10/2010 5:29:17 PM)
Thanks for the comment Hank! I did have a great summer, and I hope yours was too. I think I know what you're referencing: that taking regular doses of locally made honey is a form of immunotherapy. Local honey is made from pollen from local plants, and if you have an allergy to one or more of those plants, you're giving your body a chance to build up a sort of slow resistence to the allergy. I don't know if there's anything in it, but I've heard that theory many times. Just another excuse to eat honey (I don't need any excuses of course!). As for selling the honey, there are no current plans yet, but however we end up distributing the honey, we'll share the information right here.


Honey Nutritional Information

Read the nutritional guidelines for the FSC Honeybees Honey!