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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5/20/2010

Update from Fred

Beekeeper Fred Davis updates us on the honeybees' progress:

This week I will check the two colonies for a buildup of male bee (drone) eggs.  Drones are the unfertilized eggs a queen lays. As the egg passes through she will prevent it from coming in contact with the sperm she received during her maiden voyage last year. Drones are a good news/bad news story: If I see a lot of drones eggs it might indicate an oncoming swarm. The hives needs a lot of males to inseminate the new virgin queen which will remain behind when the colony swarms. I want to prevent a swarm so we can get more honey, so I will remove the drones.
 
The good news about drones is that they act as a non-chemical, mite prevention measure. The parasitic tracheal mite which plagues all honeybees in North America except for Newfoundland (so far) loves the larger drone cells and the drone eggs. By encouraging the hive to build more drone cells I can remove these bad boys and reduce the number of mites in the hive. Think of a mite as having a bug on your back the size of your fist sucking the blood out of you. It's heavy, affects your flight, and depletes your energy. There is no silver bullet to rid the hive of mites but we try.
 
A good beekeeper must keep his/her eye on the drones!

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