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Fall 2023 Update


Field Trips to the Apiary

One of the pillars of our program is education. This year we started having field trips come to visit the bees and our mini homestead. We recently had kids from the ArtHouse Halton culinary program visit the apiary to learn about the importance of pollinators, food security and sustainability. In the spring of 2023 we plan on having more field trips here in addition to school presentations. As you can see, Thelma our silkie chicken is always a fan favourite (see the image below).

Harvest and Colony Count Update

Honey-by-the-Hive 1.0
You will notice this year from your honey jar swag that we harvested on a colony by colony basis. Each crop that is harvested from a certain hive on a certain date will have its own distinct flavour profile never to be totally duplicated. Some are floral forward, some are citrusy, the combinations and nuances are endless. The textures and colours are also very different from hive to hive and depending on the harvest date. So rather than homogenizing the honey and combining it all together, we went the extra step to bring this unique experience to our sponsors and those who purchase honey from us by harvesting each hive individually!

Colony Count and Harvest Details
We have increased our colony count to 12 from our humble beginnings of two hives 4 years ago. This year we harvested 400 pounds of honey, a 100% increase from last year. Barring any catastrophe, we think we can hit our goal (thanks to you!) of 1 million bees next year. The bees are going into winter very strong with lots of honey and pollen. We always leave half of the honey for the bees. In fact we did not do a fall harvest at all. We believe this 'bees first' approach in the end is better for both the honey harvest and the honeybees.

Innovation News

Another pillar of our sponsor driven not for profit is levering innovation to help our bees! This year we applied the following techniques to combat the varroa mite which is, in our opinion, responsible for a good chunk of the decline of our honeybee populations.

We used an app we trialed last year called beescanner. With a few bee pictures, this app is able to tell us in real time what infestation levels are. Two hives surprised us with high infestation levels early in the season and because of this app we were able to knock them back down successfully. Using beescanner is a less intrusive and less stressful approach to determine mite levels.

Strike and Charge
We have developed and coined a mite treatment method we call 'Strike and Charge'. This involves hitting the mites with a large blast of natural pesticide when the bees are strong in August, even if mite levels are low, then applying a second, longer lasting but gentler treatment afterward over the month of September to prevent mite rebound - which is getting more frequent as our summers get longer. We are the only apiary we know of using this method and it worked very well on a few hives last year - so we went all in with it this year.

More Events

In addition to our Sponsor Appreciation Open House, our goal is to have at least 2 other events for Sponsors to enjoy every year. We had the Berry Special Saturday Mulberry Fest this year and will have it again next year for sure. And speaking of next year we are planning to add another event to the mix. The goal of these events is not only to build sponsorship community but to help improve the health and well being of you, our amazing sponsors!

Coming Soon!

Web Store
Our new website was launched in the spring and we have been promising to get our store up and running. Due to a hectic summer, we had to postpone the storefront addition. Our new launch target is November 2023, in time for gift giving! Of course until then you can email us for additional product requests.

Honey by the Hive 2.0
We feel it is important for everyone to learn about where their food comes from. Honey by the hive 2.0 will add a QR code to your jar and will eventually integrated into our in house hive tracking software so you will be able to learn about the colony that produced your honey!

Hive Tracker
We have found that there is no intuitive and easy to use applications out there to track hive health and hive inspections. Tim has been slowly building his web based, hive tracking app in his spare time. It is roughly 30% completed. We hope to share this app with other beekeepers who might find it useful.