On June 2, 2017, UTM welcomed three hives and 15,000 honeybees to campus. The particular type of honeybee we brought to campus is called a Buckfast bee - they are an English-bred strain that is resistant to parasites and mites, and for those who may be a little nervous of our bountifully buzzing neighbors, fear not, as they are known for being very calm and non-aggressive. Since then, we have brought in two additional hives, and the bees have multiplied to about 50,000 bees per hive.
Where you can find them:
The brightly colored hives, known as KoBee, Sting, Queen Latifah, Bee-Yonce, and Chubee, were painted by artist Vitalia Smirnova and you can find them on the green roof of the Instructional Centre on the third floor looking out the back of the building (on the opposite side of the computer lab from the main stairs). While they are only accessible to the beekeeper and facilities staff, we have made sure to position the hives such that staff, students and faculty can watch them hard at work through the large windows on the third floor.
Why it is important:
We are committed to protecting the environment and having sustainable food service practices, and are always looking for new and improved ways to contribute to the existing sustainable and environmental programs and new creative ways to grow. We saw an opportunity with honeybees. Our apiary helps to combat Bee Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and helps the local environment by introducing the bees to pollinate gardens in the area. This program helps decrease waste and provides an engaging educational opportunity for students and staff alike. Don Forster, our beekeeper, has offered small teaching sessions about tending bees and our UTM Community Kitchen has hosted workshops with recipes in which to use our harvested honey.
As you know, honeybees produce just that - honey!
In 2017 we harvested 225 lbs of honey
In 2018 we harvested 541 lbs of honey
In 2019 we harvested 1,017 lbs of honey
in 2020 we harvested 1,073 lbs of honey from the hives
Depending on how much honey is harvested, UTM will use the honey for various initiatives such as UTM kitchens, Community Kitchen workshops, for gifts as part of donation requests, fund-raising initiatives, and for sale to the UTM community (where the money is directly reinvested back into the UTM Bees program).
Take a moment to head over to the third floor of the IB to take a look at the bees, take a pic and hashtag #UTMBees, and make sure you keep your eyes peeled for the next time we sell the honey. Each season tastes slightly different based on which plants and flowers are in bloom, which makes the honey that much more special. It is truly a limited edition, each time.
Questions? Contact us -
Davis Building suite 1132, down the hall from the Bookstore
Making experiences, exceptional