The Chateau Victoria Bees

April 29, 2014:

Our bees are healthy and thriving but that is not the case accross Vancouver Island.

 

We examine the latest setback in the ongoing struggle to maintain healthy honey bee populations around the world. Every winter honey bee farmers hope that come spring, their colonies will have survived so that their businesses can remain economically viable. And with Vancouver Island receiving Spring the earliest of any location in Canada, farmers there are reporting catastrophic results from the winter with some farmers having lost up to 90% of their colonies. Yet while populations elsewhere in Canada have also been hit in recent years, it appears (at least at this point), that Vancouver Island’s significant losses are an isolated incident. Nevertheless these recurring losses to beekeepers have become an increasingly critical issue of concern around the world for both honey producers and other farmers who rely on honey bee colonies to pollinate their crops. We speak with British Columbia’s Provincial Apiculturist who shares his thoughts on the most recent collapse of colonies on Vancouver Island and he shares insights into what measures beekeepers are taking in response. And just as the most common and immediate responses to these types of threats are often simple band-aid solutions, we’ll also examine whether the collapse of honey bees around the world is the ‘canary in the coal mine’ – signalling to us that our practices of agriculture and land-use management are in desperate need of a foundational rethink.

And we’ll also travel to Vancouver Island to meet Bob Liptrot of Tugwell Creek Honey Farm & Meadery. Bob was one of the many foodies and farmers who Deconstructing Dinner visited in the community of Sooke back in February. Tugwell Creek has in no way been immune to the collapse of colonies on the Island, with their operation having suffered an estimated loss of at least 65% of their bees. But regardless of the grim challenges facing Tugwell Creek, we’ll receive some enjoyment with a tasty and fascinating introduction into mead, also known as honey wine – a product that Tugwell Creek specializes in producing. In fact, their meadery was the first in Western Canada.

 

Bee journal Sept 9, 2013:  I am pleased to say that our bees have been very productive this year.  Each colony produced between 35 to 45 kilograms of honey made from the nectar of hundreds of millions of local flower blossoms.  The Chateau has proven worthy stewardship of the land by providing a home base/apiary for this miracle to take place.

Pollination by honey bees is crucial for fruits and vegetables, and I’m sure your neighbors and the community gardens are thankful for 100% pollination that produces bigger and tastier fruits and vegetables.  The Chef must “fit to be tied” with the very unique flavour of the multi floral honey I have delivered to him this season.

I will be by today (Saturday when the clouds and fog lift) to check our bees.  I am preparing them for winter now, and you have probably noticed the bees are down into one box.  We still have a huge population in each hive and that is what we want now, as they will keep the hive warm and with the incoming pollen, this will encourage the queen to continue to lay eggs.  These new bees will see the colony through our winter months, keeping the brood and food stores warm and at the ready for use.

April 8, 2013:  Looks like our challenge in keeping our bees alive and well continues.  All the more reason this hotel will do its part for our local farmers.  Have a look.

March 21: 2013:  Welcome to spring and our expanded family of bees.   Thats right, we have doubled our hives this year to keep up with demand from our kitchen and our bar for our house made honey.  Our bees will be hard at work for that golden sweet honey once the weather warms up.

 

The Chateau Victoria is proud to do our part for our local environment.  One of our big projects this year was to provide a productive home for about 60,000 bees on our roof.  We have learned that bee populations suffered massive losses three winters ago on Vancouver Island losing as much as 90% of our colonies.  The impact on our Island economy is large with over 100 cash crops worth $300 million.  One third of our food production is at risk without a healthy bee population.  This is very serious stuff when your hotel’s food philosophy is to buy local and use ingredients as close to home as possible.   “The honey and the bees wax is a great by-product of the project but the fact we are doing our part to help our local farms stay healthy and profitable is the real motivator to keep our bees” states Garrett Schack, Executive Chef at the Chateau Victoria.

 

A Crazy Bee Beard outside out legislature

Our Capital Region Bee keepers.

 

 

 

 

 

Possible products for purchase.  Are you interested in buying honey for your delegates?  Please contact Brian Scullion at the number below for information on your options.

For more information on our bees and the amazing honey they produce, please contact our Bee Keeper, Mr. Brian Scullion at 250-385-7129 or visit his site at www.jamesbayhoneycompany.com/

Many thanks to Brian for taking these amazing images of our downtown Bees.