There’s a unique agri-tourism attraction here in Lennox & Addington that is generating a lot of buzz, both literally and figuratively. I recently had the opportunity to visit The Bee Spot, a small family-operated apiary located at 695 Addison Street in Tamworth, to take part in their new “Bee Experience”.
I’m a huge fan of honey (I put it on everything) and I was excited to learn first-hand how it is produced. The tour would put me in close quarters with a million-plus bees, so I admit, I was a little apprehensive about getting up close and personal with an active hive.
Any trepidation I was feeling was quickly erased when I was greeted by the father and son team of Jeremy and Gord Fitzgerald. They put me at ease and I could tell right away that I was in good hands. They began the experience by taking apart an empty hive, explaining in detail its various components. They also talked about the bee hierarchy and how the hives function.
After the informative tutorial, it was time to put on our beekeeping suits, grab the smoker and make our way to an active hive. As we approached you could hear it humming with activity.
After applying a bit of smoke, Jeremy removed the lid and took out the first frame. The bees had just begun working on this top section so there was not much honey to be seen as of yet.
When we got to the middle layer, we discovered that each of the frames were full, capped, and ready to have their honey extracted.
The bottom layer, known as the brooding chamber, was alive with activity. There were male drones and female worker bees covering the majority of the frame. You could see some eggs and larvae as well.
Jeremy and Gord methodically removed each frame until they found what they were looking for – the Queen. Marked with small green dot, she is the largest bee in the colony. She produces chemical scents that help regulate the unity of the colony and lays a lot of eggs – up to 2,500 a day in the summer.
After gently returning the frames to their proper places and re-stacking the hive, it was time to learn about the human part of the production process. We entered a small, windowed building where honey is uncapped, put in a spinner, and bottled. And, of course, I enjoyed a tasty sample of the end product.
If you have an uneasy feeling about trying this experience, you needn’t worry. It’s safe, fun and informative. If you love the taste of honey like I do, you should definitely give this a try. Tours are offered from June until Thanksgiving to groups up to 10 people. It’s suitable for people aged eight and up.
To book your bee experience and for more information visit their website at www.thebeespot.ca.