Posts Tagged With: Beekeeping

Honeybees live the good life, at the Fairmont Empress Hotel.

Beehives at the Fairmont Empress Hotel

Beehives & observation hive | Fairmont Empress Hotel

Just a short walk from my workplace in downtown Victoria BC, is the Fairmont Empress Hotel. Besides being a world renown hotel, it is one of a chain of Fairmont Hotels across the globe that takes beekeeping very seriously.

In 2011, 10 hives were set up at the front of the property, in an area known as the Centennial Garden. Located on a small plot of grass, against a backdrop of boulders and foliage, the area is low-traffic and not visible from the surrounding roads. There are no signs pointing visitors to the location, but those lucky enough to catch on, are treated with a little piece of heaven that 500,000 Italian and Carniolan bees call home. It is really quite Empress-ive.

Honeybees

Honeybees | Fairmont Empress Hotel

Victoria is known as the City of Gardens and the Fairmont Empress Hotel certainly lives up to that reputation. In addition to the Centennial Gardens and the very impressive Rose Garden, the groundskeepers work year-round to ensure continued seasonal plant and foliage growth – these lucky bees have it made.

The 3,000+ pounds of honey harvested each year is used in the the various dining outlets throughout the hotel, served with the famous Empress Afternoon Tea, is packaged and sold in the hotel gift shop and they have even crafted a wheat and honey beer with a local brewery, Hoyne Brewing Company! I haven’t been fortunate enough to visit when the beekeeper is tending to the hives, but one of these days I’d like to see him in action.

As an aspiring beekeeper myself, I can’t think of a better way to spend my lunch hour, than wandering through the gardens of the Fairmont Empress Hotel, peeking inside the observation hive and marvelling at the buzz of activity.

Fairmont Empress Hotel Observation Beehive

Observation Beehive (Left) | Wasp meets Guard Bee (Right)

Honey in the Fairmont Empress Hotel Gift Shop

Honey for sale in the Gift Shop

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Learning before I go.

I couldn’t help myself. I don’t even own bees yet and I just had to get the latest edition of Bee Culture Magazine. I’m not known to have a lot of patience, so waiting to go to our first ever meeting (9 more days, but who is counting?) with the local beekeepers association is difficult. In the meantime I of course want to fill my time learning as much as I can, and this magazine fit the bill perfectly.

Learning all I can before we get bees, and Bee Culture Magazine is full of great information.

Bee Culture Magazine.

It seems most new beekeepers have Mentors, and the more I read, the more I understand it is absolutely necessary to have someone who knows what they are doing, help you with everything from setting up, to diagnosing problems. I’m sure we’ll find a mentor in our area and I look forward to working with them to get our hive up and running.

Ultimately I want to do right by these little guys!

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It’s not too late

I have just found out it is NOT too late to start beekeeping this year. This is great news, as I had thought all bees are now out doing their busy work, and to get some would be disrupting the natural flow of things. Not so apparently, thanks to Swarms – a term I am just now beginning to understand.

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