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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The Cuddle Death

A technique used by bees when threatened by an intruding insect (a hornet, for example) into their hives is "balling." They surround the offender in a soft ball of bees, their body heat smothering the enemy effectively. This also occurs when when the hive wishes to rid itself of an old queen. It's referred to as "balling the queen" or the "cuddle death."

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Top Ten Cool Things About Honey

10. Honey is the only food made by insects... for us!

9. Bees have been producing honey for 10 to 20 million years.

8. Honey has natural preservatives and bacteria can’t grow in it, so you can store it at room temperature. Actually it's best to do this anyway, as chilling it causes crystallization.

7. Because of its natural preservatives and lack of bacteria, honey has been used for millennia as a topical dressing for wounds. Honey has even been used to embalm bodies, such as that of Alexander the Great.

6. Honey is the only natural substance consumed by humans that includes all the elements necessary to sustain life, including water.

5. While collecting nectar, a honeybee visits approximately 50 to 100 flowers every day. To gather one tablespoon of honey, a bee must visit one million flowers. That's a busy bee.

4. The average worker honeybee make makes about 1/12th teaspoon of honey in her lifetime

3. The honeybee is not born knowing how to make honey; the younger bees are taught by the more experienced ones.

2. Humans have been gathering honey for about 10,000 years.

and ...

1. Honey tastes great! Thanks bees!

Do you have some favourite ways to eat honey or some recipes you'd like to share? Please do so in the comment section below!

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Update from Fred: Nectar Flow!

Beekeeper Fred Davis updates us on the honeybees' progress:

On May 31 I noticed that the bees were creating a lot of wax foundation and filling the cells with some golden nectar and even honey. So, I added the first honey super and the queen excluder to each colony.  Now we will watch how fast the colonies will draw out the wax frames and fill them with honey. The queen is effectively barred from moving into the honey supers.

I will keep my eye on signs of swarming and varroa mite population. The batch of capped drone brood I removed on Monday showed zero mites. Fabulous results! I moved the colonies a little closer to the southern wall and away from the west wall so that the would get a bit more shade in the later afternoon and less heat radiating from the west wall. Now you can see at least one colony from the north west window on the 4th floor.
I removed two frames from the brood chamber in order to give the bees a bit more room. The frames had a bit of honey and nectar in them (nectar is uncapped honey and although it tastes sweet it can ferment in a few months). I spun the frames in my extractor and now have a bit of honey which I plan to give to the COC very shortly.

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Honey Nutritional Information

Read the nutritional guidelines for the FSC Honeybees Honey!