With the recent arrival of Calgary Food Tours’ honeybee colonies, the beekeeping season has official begun! A.B.C sourced CFT’s hives from Tony Lalond’s apiary east of Saskatoon. Unfortunately, Saskatchewan experienced a particularly long and cold winter, resulting in a slow start to spring. Typically, nucs (starter honeybee colonies) can be installed by late May, however, these bees were not strong enough to be moved until the second week of June. Geoff Wilson, Saskatchewan’s Provincial Apiculturist inspected the hives before they were transported into Alberta and declared them to be disease and mite-free.
The first hive, Calgary Food Tours ‘Hive’ School – Home of the Nectar-ines, was moved to its home at River Run in Shouldice Park on June 9th. The location has vast river and park access, which should provide ample foraging opportunities for the bees. The location of the apiary, close to Bowness, also means that this hive will be part of the Home2Hive Bicycle tours this summer! These tours will introduce people to the enchanting world of beekeeping through guided observation and inspection.
The second hive, Calgary Food Tours Inc. – A Tasty Bees-ness, was installed as part of the rooftop garden at the restaurant Downtown Food. Beekeeping in an urban jungle is not a new thing; there have been rooftop hives in cities such as New York and Paris for years. However, there are still special considerations in urban cores, such as wind tunnel effects and access to vegetation, which require hives to be closely monitored to ensure that the bees are not struggling unnecessarily. This hive should not have any issues though, as it is in a relatively sheltered location and is less than a kilometer from both the Bow and Elbow river valleys, not to mention many park spaces.
We are thrilled to have Calgary Food Tours as part the Bees4Communities project. Their participation has allowed us to increase awareness of honeybees and local food and to explore the challenges and many benefits of keeping honeybees in the very heart of the city.