Flowers are blooming and the bees are now buzzing at The Forks as we launch the first urban bee project in Winnipeg’s downtown this spring. Thanks to our friends at BeeProject Apiaries, two honey beehives have been installed on top of the Caboose near The Forks Market.
As part of our Target Zero initiative, we’re really excited about having honey bees at The Forks. They play a huge role in our ecosystem, and globally their population is on the decline. We're hoping that we can be good stewards of our environment and use it as an educational tool for people to understand bee importance too.
The two hives each have approximately 10,000 honey bees and one queen, and are now secured on top of the Caboose. This area was selected because it's out of public reach, close to flowers and the Public Orchard, and offers the honey bees a clear flight path above the people below.
Chris Kirouac, co-owner of BeeProject Apiaries, says that typically bees get a bad rap, but they are actually very docile and won’t sting unless they feel threatened. The urban setting is ideal for honey bees as they're shielded from many pesticides, predators, and harsh elements from the outdoors.
By adding the two hives, the honey bees will help pollinate surrounding trees as well as The Forks Public Orchard. This will help the Public Orchard to produce more fruit that is more flavourful. The honey from the hive will also be more flavourful because of the variety of plants and flowers available to the bees.
The lovely folks at BeeProject Apiaries are going to be taking care of the colonies over the season. They expect the hives will produce 20-25 kilos of honey this year, with the first batch possibly ready as early as July. The honey will be made available for sale with proceeds going to support The Forks Foundation.