Bees live at Algonquin College

Chief Instructor Daniel Halden hopes the bees can thrive this spring. Photo credit: David Rotel

After two years, the hives at Algonquin College have finally been opened.

“The bees are alive and well,” said Daniel Halden, chef instructor for the culinary management program.

This wasn’t always the case, as the bees had a tough two years.

“Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we have not been able to take care of our bees as diligently as we would like. Because of that, we lost the bees two years ago,” Halden said.

“For the first year of the pandemic, we had no bees on campus,” he added.

Last year, the college received nucs, which are small hives containing small colonies of bees. After putting the hives in the nucs, they were maintained for over a year and then opened this spring.

The future for bees looks bright, as Halden hopes they will continue to thrive on campus. The college has two hives, each of which can hold up to 70,000 bees according to Halden.

“We use them as part of our farm before classes. It is important to have the bees around. We focus on their pollination skills,” Halden said.

Bees are a very important part of the college because of the honey they produce.

“Having bees around is great because not only do they pollinate your plants and enhance growth, but they also produce honey, which is a natural and really delicious sweetener,” Halden added.

Halden said honey produced by bees is sometimes used in the culinary stewardship program.

“We extract the frames and filter the honey. Although we haven’t had huge harvests in the past, we can have a lot more this year because it looks like we’re doing pretty well,” Halden said.

Local media recently reported that beekeepers in Ontario have suffered significant bee losses. Luckily, it didn’t affect the college bees.

“Fortunately, our hives are surviving. But in recent years we have seen losses,” Halden said.

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