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Queen's University

Sustainability Office

A new home for golden honeybees


July 4, 2014

Located at the Queen’s Community Garden on West Campus, a thriving colony of honeybees had made a home in the roof of an adjacent building.

Unfortunately, this building is also used to harvest rainwater for the garden.  The rain barrels connected to the building’s downspouts being used by our gardeners put them in close contact with their neighbouring bees who were also seeking out the water source.

A solution was needed that would both avoid potential close encounters with the gardeners while at the same time protecting such an important contributor to our ecosystem.

The honeybee is the world’s great pollinator.  It was once said that if the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, humans would have no more than four years to live.  Although the science may not back this entirely most national agricultural departments believe that at least one third of the food we consume each day relies on bee pollination.  Sadly, despite their huge importance the long-term viability of the honeybee is in question.  According to the Ontario Beekeeper Association bees “face excessive and unprecedented losses of colonies from the inappropriate use of neonicotinoid pesticides”.

Bill Lake, president of the Limestone Beekeepers Guild was our solution.  Bill agreed to remove and relocate the bees.

Arriving on Thursday June 19th, with a special vacuum and holding box, Bill successfully removed about 30,000 to 40,000 honeybees, including the queen.  These bees have been placed into a proper beekeeper box with removal frames and added to his apiary.

Our garden bees now have a new home, can continue their vital pollination work and may someday grant us with their golden honey.

Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000