Harvesting honey at home like vegetables in a garden is a passion for many people in Abitibi-Témiscamingue. David Ouellet has been doing his job for almost 15 years.
The owner of the Miellerie de la Grande Ourse in Saint-Marc-de-Figuery is dedicated to breeding bees for their honey and wax.
«The smoke is used to calm the bees, but to calm the bees, it takes a cold smoke », Indicates David Ouellet, who is preparing to visit one of his 16 sites. “One of the preferred means of communication for bees is the exchange of pheromones. These are smells. What we come to do is to mask the smells with the smoke. When you fill the hive with smoke, they are no longer able to communicate with each other and the alarm system does not take offExplains the one who still expects to be stung by one or two bees.
The beekeeper considers that he has a good season despite the hot weather which slows down the work of the bees. “We had a difficult spring, but an exceptional summer. You have to understand that bees work hard when it’s above 30 degrees Celsius, he explains. Instead of going for honey, they stay in the hive and air conditioning. Despite the fact that there are 50,000 bees in the hive, they manage to keep it below 30 degrees. »
David Ouellet cannot offer safari tours this summer due to social distancing measures. He therefore joined forces with Les Serres de Gallichan to sell more local products. “There is a solidarity that has taken hold. We have more traffic at the store than we would have in other years », Remarks the owner of the Miellerie de la Grande Ourse.
Queen, forager, guardian or nurse, bees all have a role to play in the hive. “We will start from a mother hive, in a mother hive we will take 2,000 to 3,000 bees to make a new colony that we will call nuclei. The queen, we will buy it from a specialized breeder, which we receive by mail in a small plastic crate and this crate will be introduced into the nuclei. She will become their queen and lay eggs », Says David Ouellet.
Bees and our gardens
About fifteen people have called on his services every year for the past five years to learn more about beekeeping and take training. Some go back to agricultural areas with beehives. “There are a lot of people this year who have decided to go into gardens, into flower arrangement. Bees are really important when it comes to pollination in a garden, he argues. »
He reminds you to stay calm near the bees and that they sting to defend their hive.
«We must not forget that we steal their food, but we steal the surplus food from them. A beehive needs roughly 20 to 30 pounds of honey to get through the winter. Good seasons they will produce 200 pounds », Emphasizes the owner of La Miellerie.