Sun Life Centre Bee Hives

In 2019 SLC launched a new initiative to host beehives on our rooftop. In big cities, the heat island effect can cause temperatures to soar. A contributing factor to this is unoptimized urban spaces like rooftops, so why not put that space to good use! 

In addition to increasing temperatures, bee colonies have been collapsing worldwide, resulting in the loss of millions of bees over the last several years. This has a profound effect on the world’s food resources, as many crops are pollinated by honey bees. 

By teaming with bee keeping experts like Alveole, we have had great success with our hives.   

A portion of the honey produced at SLC is donated to local charitable organizations in the Ottawa area. 


2020 proved to be another successful year of this endeavor producing nearly 30L of honey from our 2 hives. 


2021  has shown the bees are really filling out their hive and packing in nectar and pollen from nearby flowers and trees in their freshly built wax comb. 

Removed some frames for the bees to fan them down, turn them into honey & cap the cells. Did you know honeybees can create their own air conditioning? A group of bees will fan the hot air out of the hive with their wings & others will bring in cool, fresh air to the hive.
Another phenomenon you might see is the wild sight of a giant cluster of bees hanging out on the front of your hive, looking a little something like this! This is called bearding because – you guessed it! – it looks like your hive has a beard of bees.


2022 has shown that the colony is growing! At this cycle’s inspection we saw that our bees are really filling out their hive and packing in nectar and pollen from nearby flowers and trees in their freshly built wax comb. Honey bees are truly incredible creatures – they’re even able to create their own building materials. For a short period in a worker bees’ life (about 7-14 days old!), they are able to produce beeswax, secreting wax flakes from their abdomen. During this period of their life, we call them ‘architect bees’. With the help of other worker bees, they chew up the wax flakes to make them nice and malleable and then form the wax into their unique honeycomb structure. They use the comb to store everything from baby bees to honey.


This week was one of the most technical parts of the beekeeping season: splits! Bees grow as a colony in the wild by dividing up the population, leaving your queen with a choice selection of worker bees and brood. Honeybees are a superorganism and to reproduce, they split the colony in half (much like a cell!). To follow and manage this natural impulse for the honeybees, Alvéole splits the population so the colony feels like they have done their natural duty in reproductions, but they can control the results. The goal of this visit is to avoid a swarm, which is a term referring to when the colony performs this natural dividing impulse themselves. When a colony swarms, the queen leaves with a portion of the adult bees in order to continue to thrive elsewhere in a new home, leaving behind the original colony to continue on. As beekeepers, particularly in an urban setting, Alvéole’s biggest priority is to avoid swarming, which is why they split the colony before the summer boom to quell the colony’s instinct to divide themselves.
The bees are officially split! We do this by taking away bees and brood (bees as larvae) and replace them with empty comb for the queen to lay in! This makes it feel like she has a ton of room to lay her eggs. Without this, the queen may feel like she doesn’t have ample space and wants to swarm! So we take bees away and we will introduce a queen to the bees we took away, and that will become a brand new hive!
Our hive is doing well and needs more room, so we added a box. The bees will use this to store honey and allow the queen to lay in there if she feels she doesn’t have enough room.