Our Beekeeping Initiative at RattleSnake Point
25 MAY 2020
Beekeeping is something that we have wanted to do for a few years. As turf managers we are often under scrutiny for the pesticides and fertilizers we use. We follow very strict measures that Environment Canada and the IPM Council put in place to keep our members, employees, and wildlife safe. On top of following these guidelines, we feel that we have a responsibility to protect our environment and all parts of our ecosystem. Beekeeping has become more and more popular since bee populations have been decreasing over the years. Bees play such a vital role in our ecosystem and we depend on their survival. Here at RattleSnake Point we have plenty of space to share. At the moment we have two hives and over 100,000 bees altogether. The Turf Department looks after the hives. We have one member of our team, Gordon Skinner, who has done the majority of the research and set-up. They do require a fair amount of attention to stay healthy.
The fruit trees on course are just starting to flower. The more each flower is pollinated, the better quality of fruit that is produced!
If a fruit tree's flowers are not sufficiently pollinated, its fruit can be misshapen, like the pear on the left.
© Canada Agriculture and Food Museum
Effects of Bees on Fruit
Flowers that are visited more often by bees will produce larger and more uniform fruit than those visited less often. This beneficial effect of pollination is most obvious in tree fruit.
Last fall we collected 55lbs of honey. With it only being a few months since opening the hive, we had just enough honey to share with the turf staff. Hopefully this year we will have much more to go around! There are a number of golf courses that have started this initiative as well. Sean Gunn at the Country Club is one, and there are a few others outside ClubLink that we know of as well. We are hoping to expand on our hives each year.
We get a lot of our information on keeping healthy hives from https://www.ontariobee.com/ and where we purchase our hive products at ApiHex in Guelph.
Christine Kumagai, Golf Course Associate Superintendent