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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10/26/2011

Adventures in Honey Harvesting

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

A lot has happened since my last entry in August. The very hot summer months got me thinking about how to help the bees stay cool. I inserted chopsticks between the honey supers and the deep brood supers. I hoped this would improve air flow in and around the colonies. I noticed that the colonies were not in direct sunlight for very long throughout the day and until late in the afternoon. That was great during those hot months but now it's time to think about keeping them protected from the harsh winds this fall and winter. 

Before I leave my thoughts of our hot summer I have to recount the work involved with taking off the honey. I planned on one honey harvest this year because it's a LOT of work to take off the honey. We ended up having to leave a few honey supers on to allow the bees to complete their work. The day was hot and the honey frames can be very heavy just like they were this year. In late August my wife and son helped me to remove most of the honey. We suffered a few stings. My son has yet to be stung! My wife was not so lucky. I was stung a few times and Barb got it on the ankle once. We acted fast but in a calm way trying not to upset the bees too much. It worked for much of the time. We spent the next few days cutting the caps off the frames and placing the frames in the extractor. Then you spin. It's best to do this work on hot days so that the honey flows quickly out of the cells and into the holding tank. I must have lost a few pounds over the course of the week spinning and uncapping frames. But it was a lot of fun. Our kitchen and breakfast nook were covered in honey and we got some unexpected and unwelcome company: ants! I tried my best to clean up all the honey that dripped onto the floor but we tracked it around and that must have gotten the ants' attention. I found out how much my dog likes honey as well. He did a pretty good job cleaning up after us.

 
I will be combining a weak hive with a stronger hive this week so that both can survive the winter. Next spring I would like to split two hives into four which will give the COC an additional few hives. More on that later.
 
Now its time to medicate and feed the bees. This I will do over the next few weeks before it gets too cold.  I'll report on that as well in my next entry.

Thanks Fred, and your family, for taking such good care of the honeybees!

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