BY RODERICK EIME IN VANCOUVER
If you see bees swarming around the 2100 sq foot herb garden at the Vancouver (BC) Fairmont Waterfront Hotel, don’t worry, it’s all part of the program.
As part of Fairmont Hotels and Resorts’ global environmental efforts, 13 properties have signed up for an onsite beekeeping program maintained and promoted by hotel staff.
Here in Vancouver, four of the Fairmont hotels have led the program from outset and have been joined with properties as far afield as USA, China and Kenya.
With growing concerns about Colony Collapse Disorder in North American honeybees, Fairmont saw an opportunity to help by placing hives in some hotels’ rooftop gardens.
At the Waterfront, perfectly located across from the cruise terminal, director of housekeeping, Graeme Evans, is the resident apiarist (beekeeper).
“We have around 500,000 Italian honey bees here in the six hives at peak production,” said Evans, carefully lifting one of the trays from the hives. “And they operate in a range of around 26 square miles.”
The hotel’s inaugural honeybee season in 2008 produced a harvest from three hives, while in 2009 the hotel captured a fourth hive of wild bees that outgrew their original home in nearby Stanley Park.
Apart from doing their bit for the environment (bees are an integral part of the natural environment for flowering trees, fruits and nuts) the hotel harvests around 600 pounds of honey annually for use in the kitchen and their signature sweets such as the honey truffles. The “Bee’s Knees”, are created in partnership with British Columbia’s legendary chocolatier, Rogers’ Chocolates.
And the question everyone asks: “How many guests have been stung?” Answer: Zero
Director of Housekeeping Graeme Evans with his prized Italian honey bees