TOP!
Vankleek Hill and District Horticultural Society banner

 


Mario Mongeon from Lefaivre
Presentation on beekeeping in Ontario
August 24th, 2017

 

39 persons attended the meeting.

Our speaker, Mario Mongeon, started working with bees at an early age and has accumulated a lifetime of information and possibly stings.

He talked first about the 300 different pollinators that are at work in Ontario. These include Alfalfa Leaf Cutter Bee, Bumblebees, Drone flies, Carpenter Bee and the Hoverfly. His favourite, however, is the European Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) which was imported from Europe along with another of our garden features: the dandelion!!

Just move your mouse over any of the photos to see a bigger version.

Mill Street Park
Mario Mongeon talking about Ontario pollinators

Mario Mongeon talking about Ontario pollinators.

 

 

 

He explained the physical differences between bees and wasps.

A bee will sting you only once as the sting is barbed while a wasp can sting you several times.

Stinging

 

 

He gave us some history about beekeeping and how bees were housed.
The earliest bee hives called Skeps were made of coils of straw fashioned into a cone.

He gave us some history about beekeeping and how bees were housed.
He gave us some history about beekeeping and how bees were housed.
    A bee skep at Dalgarven Mill. The base is part of an old cheese press. <br>This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Rosser1954 at English Wikipedia. This applies worldwide.<br>https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ADalgarvenBeeSkep.jpg
A bee skep at Dalgarven Mill. The base is part of an old cheese press.
This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Rosser1954 at English Wikipedia. This applies worldwide.
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ADalgarvenBeeSkep.jpg

Today, the hives are primarily made of wood with individually removable frames. The honey can be spun from the frames and the frames returned to the hives.

Today, the hives are primarily made of wood with individually removable frames. The honey can be spun from the frames and the frames returned to the hives.
Today, the hives are primarily made of wood with individually removable frames. The honey can be spun from the frames and the frames returned to the hives.

Mario Mongeon said that he was fascinated by the fact that bees are social insects with a unique form of communication: the "bee dance" http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/weirdest-bees-dance. Once a bee has located a source of food, it uses the dance to communicate to other bees where the food is located, how far away from the hive, and the amount. He said it was like a GPS system.

Bees are busy creatures with the queen laying 1,500 to 2,000 eggs a day in the summer and being fed royal jelly by the female worker bees. While a queen can live up to 7 years, some of the bees have a lifespan of 50 days in the summer. Along with the queen, the last generation of bees produced in the season will overwinter but need protection in our cold climate.

He said that in Ontario there are 80,000-100,000 bee hives and the value of the honey they produce is approximately $171 million annually. One third of all human food depends on pollination and he encouraged us to keep the bee population safe. Among the plant species that attract attract bees and other pollinators, he suggested that we plant Anis Hysssop, Common Milkweed, Echinaceae, Lavender and Monardas in our gardens.

Pollinators are important for the survival of our plants and for the production of many of our fruits and vegetables.

Bee on a flower.
Bee on a flower.

The evening was enjoyed by all. Mario Mongeon was such an enthusiastic speaker and he graciously answered our many questions.

Mario Mongeon graciously answering our many questions.
Mario Mongeon graciously answering our many questions.

For more information about bees, go to:
- the Ontario Beekeepers Association at http://www.ontariobee.com/
- Ontario honey at http://www.ontariohoney.ca/
- Canadian Honey Council at http://honeycouncil.ca/
- Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists at http://www.capabees.com/
- Wikipedia article on the European honey bee (or Western Honey bee) at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_honey_bee/

It was followed by social time.

Katrine Stewart, Secretary