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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Requeening the Hives

We will be requeening all the hives this year which I think, together with what appears will be a long summer, should improve the longevity, health and disposition of the hives. I've noticed the queens have slowed brood production when we need it. A good beekeeper must consider and prepare for the next season. In other words, I have to wonder how well the hives will do late this summer if there aren't enough successors to the existing working bees. With a new queen comes lots of new brood and that means foragers as well. Plus, as bees get older, they can get less docile, but having lots of new bees in the mix tempers their attitude.

I caught a swarm and placed it in a box that is now on top of one of the hives at the COC. I'll check back next weekend to see if the existing hive accepted the queen. This is the fun and interesting stuff.

Honey supers are on each hive now. Keep your fingers crossed for a good harvest this year.

Posted by Gianna Wichelow / in Update from Fred / comments (0) / permalink


The Bees are Back!

After a winter of being well wrapped up, the COC's honeybees are back outside on the roof of the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, and getting busy for another honey-making season.

Beekeeper Fred Davis tells us that the hives look healthy and active now that the warm weather is here. In other good news, the hives have been shifted slightly from last year's location, so they'll be even easier to see from the north bar on Ring Four and from the window of the north door to the roof. Fred thinks that, as they'll get more sun here, they'll be happier. Please take a minute when you're attending the opera this spring to check them out! Fred also plans to "re-Queen" three of the hives to strengthen them. Fascinating stuff!

Here at the COC, we believe we're the only performing arts building in North America that has taken this step to helping protect and repopulate this very important species. But we don't want to be the only one and urge other landmarks, especially in our city, to get on board and help the honeybees. They need us almost as much as we need them.

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


Baby Bees Doing Well! (No Fooling)

Beekeeper Fred Davis updates us on the honeybees that live on the roof the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts:

I was very pleased to see that all our hives made it through the winter this year. I realize we had it easy this winter but, with the standard loss in Ontario being upwards of 30%, I was worried things might not have turned out as well as they have. Today, April 1, was the first chance I had to take a quick look inside the hives. Opening the hives early in the season and when it's cold can result in what is known as "chilled brood." Sounds ominous, and it can set back the hive quite a bit if those new babies get too cold. Essentially  they can die from exposure. So I only opened the top of the hives and placed some pollen patties and sugar water in baggies inside. I hope the pollen patties (which are protein for the hive) and the sugar water (carbohydrates) give the bees enough energy over the next week or so when the temperatures drop again. I had a wet but satisfying day. I'll check in again with the bees next weekend.

Thanks for the good news, Fred, and the photograph of the well-wrapped hives.

Posted by Gianna Wichelow / in Update from Fred / comments (0) / permalink

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