The Buzz about Fairmont Chateau Whistler’s New Rooftop Beehives

The latest news has been buzzing around the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, literally. New for summer 2024 we have added a rooftop pollinator farm welcoming 30,000 bees. The bees have been perfectly tucked away on our rooftop, visible yet far enough from guest windows for you to appreciate from a distance, sting free. Beyond the sweet honey they will be producing for us this summer, they are an important part of our commitment to a sustainable future. We have created a space for our hard-working pollinators to continue their efforts towards biodiversity and environmental health.

Our friends at Ensure Hive Future (EHF) have graciously lent us their hives for part of the summer and have shared some sweet facts about our bees.

 

I see we have installed hives on our rooftop. How many bees should expect to call it home this summer?
EHF:
Currently there are 30,000 worker bees to start the early season. Assuming there will be lots for the bees to eat this season, we will end up with approximately 80,000 to a million bees flying over the upper village.

 

What species of bees are they?
EHF: As honey bees are not native to North America, our bees are a mix of species, scientifically named Apis Mellifera. This species are typically darker in colour and do better in a cold wet climate. Rather than maintain a huge brood nest (population) they conserve resources and react to the availability to tremendously expand their population in time to harvest – their survival of winter depends upon it.

 

What does a typical day look like for our bees?
EHF: The bees start their day pollinating close to sunrise once the temperatures are above 8 degrees Celsius and return to the colony well before sunset if temperatures are adequate. When they reach the colony, you can expect the bees to work around the clock 24 hours per day.

How much honey would our number of bees typically produce over the summer?
EHF: It is hard to guarantee the exact amount of honey being produced but based on predictions of our bees taking advantage of the Fire Weed in July and August, our bees can potentially produce up to 100lbs of honey by the end of the season.

 

What will the honey from our bees taste like?
EHF: Very much like wine, there are many factors that play into what the honey will taste like. During the early season, the honey will have notes of maple and willow. If the bees take advantage of the Fire Weed, you can expect the honey to taste light and buttery.

 

Why is having local pollinators so important?
EHF: Local pollinators help promote a healthy environment for a large portion of our food chain. Unfortunately, because of modern agricultural practices and the use of pesticides, our native bee pollination has been impacted.

What are the health benefits to consuming honey?
EHF: Incorporating authentic honey into your diet can have significant anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and antibacterial properties.

 

Who will be taking care of the Fairmont Chateau Whistler bees?
EHF: Our friends from Ensure Hive Future will be attending to the bees on a weekly basis and look after the harvesting of the honey.

rooftop pollinator bee farm

Bee Fact

Did you know that nearly 90% of wild plants and 75% of the world’s major crops rely on animal pollination? Bees and other pollinators are essential for one out of every three bites of food we eat. Pollinator-dependent crops are five times more valuable than those that don’t require pollination. We count it an honour being able to give these hard workers a place to call home.

The bees have made Fairmont Chateau Whistler home for the spring/summer 2024 season and will be safely relocated late September (weather dependent).  We are continuing to seek out innovative ways where we can incorporate the sweet work of our bees (honey) into other experiences at the Chateau like our food and beverage offerings.

We are excited to see how our pollinator farm will positively impact Whistler Upper Village’s biodiversity and create a healthier environment for vegetation and other wildlife. To learn more about our sustainability efforts, click here.

Witness what the buzz is all about firsthand. Save up to 25% on your next Whistler getaway here.

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