Amma Toronto

April 6: Beekeeping Update

New hive box

It has been a tough winter for the bees

Greetings from the Bee Team! Welcome Spring! The Bee Team is sad to report that we lost three of our five colonies due to varroa mites in mid-September. Varroa mites are the most serious threat to honey bees. They are external parasites feeding on the bee’s immune system, that is, on the body of fluids of adult and developing honeybees. Although we treated the hives for mites with organic treatments throughout the summer, it was not enough to control the infestation going into the winter. Emails received from the Ontario Beekeepers' Association (OBA) indicate that we are not alone in suffering heavy and serious colony losses this year. It has been a rough year for many Ontario beekeepers!

The remaining two colonies will be inspected in May when the weather warms up. In the meantime, two new hives have been purchased, and the team is awaiting their arrival in mid-June.

Good news! The Ontario Beekeepers' Association is back for in-person workshops! These are very good and informative courses to enrol in if you are interested in beekeeping The in-person Introduction to Beekeeping course can be found at

They also offer an online Introduction to Beekeeping course, along with other courses, at:

Information regarding the Bee Team's activities for this season will be shared in the weeks to come. The team is happy to answer any questions you may have. Please contact Pauline or

Lastly, some devotees expressed concern about the $10/jar price of our Amrita Madhu (honey) this year. Beekeeping can be an expensive endeavour. The bees at the Amma Canada Centre are a small enterprise managed by a few volunteers who, unlike most commercial beekeepers, do not use antibiotics and other harsh chemicals to manage bee populations. Our honey is priced in line with other local, organic beekeepers. The monies generated from the honey sales help to recover some of the beekeeping costs, such as jars, bee equipment, bee suits and gloves, epipen, membership, etc. Any money generated beyond the cost of supplies goes towards Amma's charitable activities.

Have a good week! Bee well!

Om Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu