One of the perks of my position with FoodShare is our partnership with the Toronto Beekeepers Co-op; in addition to the delicious honey that we share, the co-op permits a Foodshare employee to become a member and this year I got to be it! Because of my crazy schedule I have only been to meetings up till now but on Monday I donned my lovely new beekeeper suit and was part of the team which harvested the first of this season's honey from the hives on the roof of the Royal York Hotel!
Hard to believe that this building in the heart of downtown Toronto is home to honey bees but there are 5 hives installed as part of the rooftop gardens.
The rooftop gardens supply much of the pollen for the bees but they can fly up to 3 kilometers for other sources of food.
We use a maze which allows the bees to enter the lower supers from above but they can't find their way back up
Each super contains a number of frames in which the bees build honeycombs of wax and fill with them with honey. The frames are removable.
We use small amounts of smoke to subdue the bees temporarily.
We remove the frames to see the state of honey production.
The bees will cling to the frames to try to protect the honey - we flick them off with a soft brush.
Here I am in my beesuit- I look like an oompa- loompa!
Next up - extracting the delicious honey from the combs!