Seneca has a sweet spot for honey thanks to a beekeeping initiative that includes 50 hives across three campuses. Seneca beehives produce upwards of 200 pounds of honey per hive, totalling 10,000 pounds of honey annually. The honey is bottled straight from the hives and sold on campus.
Currently, bees are buzzing at Newnham, King and Peterborough campuses with plans to add more hives in the future. The apiaries are maintained by Don Forster, a registered commercial beekeeper and Seneca’s Senior Sustainability Manager. As an important insect in the ecosystem, bees are essential for pollinating trees, plants and flowers. They fly a distance of about two to five kilometers away from Seneca and contribute to the natural pollination of neighbouring landscapes.
Seneca honey is pure, unpasteurized, white, wildflower honey. It is available in jars ranging in size from 45 grams up to one kilogram. To make a purchase, email Don Forster or stop by an upcoming farmers market at Newnham Campus.
Learn About Beekeeping
Seneca now offers two introductory beekeeping workshops through Continuing Education.
The first workshop, Introduction to Beekeeping, is intended for beginners and hobbyist beekeepers to learn the essentials of how to get started in beekeeping. The curriculum covers the tools and equipment needed, bee identification and biology, activities within the beekeeper's calendar and the provincial laws and municipal bylaws governing beekeeping in Ontario.
In the spring, a second workshop, Spring Beekeeping, provides hands-on yard experience and is intended to build on the first workshop with interactive beehive management. Students will open up a hive to observe and help manage the bees, including nucleus hives, maintaining a hive, queening, re-queening, creating splits and disease and pest control.
Incorporating Indigenous Beliefs with Seneca Honey
Original Indigenous artwork on the outside of four hives at Newnham Campus features a circle of four honey bees designed by Peggy Pitawanakwat, Co-ordinator, First Peoples@Seneca, and painted by students at First Peoples@Seneca.
Known as the Honey Bee Circle, it reflects Indigenous symbology of elements, cycles and teachings. The circle represents the four directions and four colours of the medicine wheel, which is considered a major symbol of peaceful interaction on Earth between all races of people, the directions, all the cycles of nature, day and night, seasons, moons, life cycles, the universe and more. Also represented in the circle are the Teachings of the Seven Grandfathers: wisdom, love, respect, bravery, kindness, humility and truth.
Giving Made Sweet
National Pollinator Week
Thanks to funding received through WWF-Canada's Go Wild School Grant, a new hive was added at Newnham Campus. The hive was unveiled during National Pollinator Week in June 2020 and is home to about 10,000 bees.