In partnership with an established beekeeper, the Royal Roads Office of Sustainability is pleased to announce that the old tennis courts are the proud new home to a honey bee (Apis Mellifera) apiary.
The purpose of this hive is to help pollinate the gardens on campus, provide learning opportunities, and supporting honey bee populations
What does a hive consist of?
A beehive consists of worker bees, a queen and drones, and every bee works for the benefit of the colony. The drones (male) purpose is to mate with a virgin queen. The queen is responsible for the laying of the eggs (brood) and emitting important pheromones (scent) inside the hive that guides the colony’s behavior, social cues and hive maintenance. The worker bees (female) account for the majority of the hive’s population and are responsible for everything except egg-laying and mating. Unlike the queen, female worker bees do not mature to allow mating or brood laying.
How does pollination work?
Honey bees pollinate crops by transferring the plant’s pollen from flower to flower. Flowers can contain pollen and nectar, both of which bees rely on for nutrition. When a bee lands on a flower to collect the nectar, pollen grains are captured on the bee’s coarse hairs. As a bee flies between the flowers of a plant in search of more nectar, it distributes the pollen. This transfer of pollen allows the plants to fertilize to grow fruit and seeds, eventually producing our food.
Why is this initiative important?
Bees are the most important pollinator of fruits, vegetables, flowers, and crops. It is estimated that more than 1/3 of the world’s crop production is dependent on bees for pollination. They are the only species of bees that provide excess honey that can be extracted for human use.
Sadly, many bee species, including honey bees, are now on the decline. With deteriorating bee colony health as a result of diseases, pesticide use, monocultures and flowerless landscapes, bee populations have been disappearing by the millions. It is estimated that bee populations have declined by approximately 2 million in the last 50 years
Without pollination from bees, many of our food crops would not succeed.
Royal Roads University is doing its part to build resilience of the bee populations through sustainable approaches like the on-site beehive. The diverse vegetation that populates the grounds provides both honey bees and many native bee species with access to a variety of plants for pollination, and in turn, this supports positive bee health.
For further information on why bees are disappearing watch this video.
Bee species can be easily enjoyed and observed, both inflight and while they are on flowers. It is recommended that you do not disturb the honey bees, as they may sting in self-defense. In the event of a sting, first aid is available from Campus Security who can be contacted via 250-391-2525.
Please visit our Sustainability page to learn more about our ongoing commitment to using sustainable practices and review our 2015-2020 Sustainability Plan.