Amica Newmarket is abuzz with activity this September for National Honey Month.
The seniors living residence is one of six Amica locations that has partnered with Alvéole, an urban beekeeping company, to bring beehives onto the property.
“It’s all about saving the bees, right? It’s a great partnership.” Samantha Edhouse, lifestyle coordinator at Amica Newmarket, said.
They put their beehives on the roof and added perennials donated by a local garden centre to help the bees thrive.
She said about every three weeks the company tends to the hives, makes sure the bees are OK, and harvests the honey once it’s ready.
“At the end of the season they come and harvest the honey and we get little jars of honey and it's all branded with our label on it,” Edhouse said.
She said they’re planning to sell the honey to raise funds for the Amica Helping Hands Charity but not before they have some fun with it.
They are expecting to receive some of their jars soon and to celebrate National Honey Month Edhouse is organizing a special honey tasting.
“I’m going to try and do a competition and buy store-bought honey and see if they can taste the difference between our honey and store-bought honey,” she said.
This is one of the ways residents have been able to get involved in the bees project.
Alvéole also comes to provide workshops on honey and bees twice a year, which residents have taken to quite well, Edhouse said.
“We have some residents who, every couple of weeks they come up to me and ask, ‘How are the bees doing? When do we get our honey?’ So they’re very involved in the sense that they’re curious about what’s going on up there,” she said.
However, when the project was first introduced, she said there were some residents who were nervous about the bees coming, especially people with allergies.
“We did have a couple of residents who were hesitant because they have a bee allergy; however, the thing with honey bees, if they sting, they die. It’s just raising awareness that usually the bees that sting aren’t bees, they’re wasps,” Edhouse said. “The only way that a bee is going to sting you is if you’re a threat to it and that’s another reason that we put it up on the roof, so that residents didn’t have to be nervous about going outside or anything like that.”
The hives have been at the residence since June and they will be there year-round with Alvéole coming in to winterize them for the colder months.