Expanding the Skyline Living Honey Bee Initiative
Have you heard the latest buzz? Skyline Living is welcoming new residents to the community with the addition of 10 honey bee hives on the rooftops of 2 buildings in Guelph!
In 2013, Skyline Group of Companies installed a living green roof on their headquarters on Douglas Street in Guelph, Ontario. R. Jason Ashdown, co-founder and chief operating officer said, "Participating in the project gives us the chance to live our values while enjoying the benefits of lower energy bills."
That was such a success, that Skyline Living began thinking that the lovely green space could use some inhabitants. So, in 2019, two honey bee hives were installed, the bees settled in, and have been great tenants ever since. The 10 new hives will be installed by Big Sting Sustainable Co., over the May holiday long weekend.
Honey Bees Make Great Neighbours
Did you know that one out of every three bites of food that we eat is made possible by pollinators like honey bees? Many crops—like cucumbers, pumpkins, cherries and apples—depend on honey bees and other wild, native bees like bumble bees for pollination. Furthermore, bee products may be used as food for humans (honey), feed for animals, cosmetics, medicines used in conventional medicine (mainly vaccination), or in apitherapy, or other products for carpentry, attractant, sweeteners, etc.
In Canada, the estimated economic contribution of honey bee pollination to the production of fruits, vegetables, and hybrid canola seed ranges from $4 to $5.5 billion per year. However, loss of habitat and biodiversity, as well as an increase in pesticide and herbicide use, has taken a toll on the bee population worldwide. Therefore, to raise awareness of the importance of bee pollinators, the threats they face, and their contribution to sustainable development, the UN designated May 20 as World Bee Day.
Skyline Living operates in areas often located near farmlands and conservation areas. Given the importance of honey bees to our economy, our daily nutrition and environment, leveraging the rooftop or ground space of our buildings for honey bee pollination and conservation is one way we recognize our responsibility to promote environmental sustainability at Skyline Living.
To support bee conservation and pollination over the spring and summer, here are some things you can do at home:
- Watch A Bee’s Diary to get a glimpse into the life of a honey bee through its own eyes.
- Add native flowering plants with lots of pollen and nectar to your garden or balcony to help bees gather enough food to survive the winter.
- Avoid the use of pesticides, fungicides, or herbicides in your gardens.
- If you notice swarming activity in your area, contact a local beekeeper or beekeeping association for safe removal of the bees.
- If bees fly close to you, avoid sudden movements such as swatting them away. Bees are usually more interested in collecting food than the people around them. They only sting when they feel threatened. Honey bees die after stinging, so it’s even more important to not provoke them.
- Tip: The best option is to keep your distance, move away from the nest, or let the insects fly away on their own. If you must, walk away slowly, or gently "blow" them away.
Remember: our farms, food and flowers depend on bees, so do not be afraid and do not disturb them.
Click here if you would like to learn more about our environmental stewardship and sustainability goals.