Overview

The first bees recorded in Saskatchewan date back to 1900. In 1922, there were about 85 beekeepers that produced 24,000 pounds of honey. Most of these beekeepers were located in the southern and eastern parts of the province. After the World Wars, there was an increased interest in honey, which caused a growth in production. By 1947, there were over 10,000 registered beekeepers in Saskatchewan.

 

A bee is flying towards a yellow flower.

Bees were first introduced to Saskatchewan in 1900.

A honeybee lands on a purple flower for nectar.
To make one pound of honey, the bees have to visit 2 million flowers and fly over 88,000 kilometers.

Who is Who?

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Drones

The males of the hives are called drones. The sole purpose of drones is to mate with the queen to make more bees
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Worker Bees

Female bees are called worker bees and make up about 85% of the bees in a hive. They tend to the queen, guard the hive, and collect nectar.
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Queen

The queen of the hive is important for the colony. She lays eggs and produces chemicals that help the colony function.

Animal Care

Bees live in colonies called hives. A beekeeper helps its bees by keeping them in a sheltered location, repairs the hives if damaged, and keeps pests such as termites away. A single beehive can make more than 100 pounds (45 kg) of extra honey. The beekeeper only harvests the extra honey made by the bees.

A beekeeper is wearing a protective suit to harvest extra honey from the beehive.

A beekeeper is wearing a protective suit to harvest extra honey from the beehive.

An illustration of a bee that has landed on a human’s finger with its stinger out.
Bees do not want to sting you, because their stinger falls off and they die after they sting, so they will only sting you if they feel threatened.

Here are some photos from a beekeeper checking on a hive.

Animal Housing

Bees fly thousands of kilometers away, and always come back to the same hive. Each hive has a unique smell, so they know where their home is.

A bee is flying towards a hive with a bunch of other bees already flying on it.

Bees fly far from their hive and can find their way back.

During the winter, honeybees do not become dormant, but rather create a warm climate inside of the hive. They keep the temperature around 10 degrees Celsius. Bees make honey during the summer and eat it over the winter to give them energy. Spring to fall is when the temperature must be high for the nursery. The bees keep the temperature between 32 – 36 degrees Celsius.

A bee is eating from a block of honey.

In the winter, bees eat honey to get energy.

Technology

There is a lot of fascinating technology used by beekeepers. There is software available that monitors the hive to track hive conditions, population of the bees in the hive, temperament of the bees, and how much honey is stored. Beekeepers can even get an alert on their phone if there’s an issue, such as a missing queen, if the bees are swarming, or if there are parasites in the hives. There are also rooftop solar panels that can be added to the hives that can heat the hive to a temperature that the bees enjoy, but parasites cannot tolerate.

A beekeeper is standing in her suit next to two bee hives that have solar panels and monitoring systems on them.

These bee hives have solar panels and monitoring systems on them.

A type of hive has also been invented that has a flow lever so that when the beekeeper pulls the lever, the honey flows out. This prevents the beekeeper from having to open the hive and take out each frame that is stored inside of it to extract the honey. This type of hive saves the bees from being disrupted while honey is being removed.

A honey hive is shown that has two valves on the front that are pouring honey into two glass jugs in front of the hive.

This is a newly invented bee hive, where the honey can flow out of it.

Products

Bees provide us with honey, but honey is used to make products as well.

Nutrition

Honey contains natural minerals and vitamins that help us promote better health. A tablespoon of honey has 64 calories and sugars that help with digestion.

A jar of honey with a spoon dipping into it.

Honey is a natural ingredient that can be used in a lot of cooking and baking.

An illustration of a woman putting honey on top of the fruit in a bowl in front of her.

Bees are the only insect in the world that make food that humans can eat.