Queen Street bees: Mini Walper Hotel acts as beehive for downtown hotel

A mini version of the Walper Hotel used for a rooftop beehive (Stephanie Villella / CTV News Kitchener)

The Walper Hotel has set up a beehive on its roof to produce honey for guests and diners.

Three weeks ago, Chef Nicole Hunt installed the hive. It's a miniature version of the hotel located on Queen Street in Downtown Kitchener.

"Honeycomb to go on charcuterie boards, the honey itself just replacing the honey we buy now, our house vinaigrette is a honey vinaigrette, so we'll really able to showcase our own honey," Hunt said.

Beekeeper Catherine Young, who is helping the hotel with their hive, said starting your own is fairly simple. You need a nucleus with four frames of bees, which will have about 10,000 bees and a queen.

Young said the hive will eventually build up to 50,000 to 60,000 bees, which will travel from three to five kilometres away to look for nectar sources.

By September, the bees could produce up to 50 pounds of honey.

"Next year, given that they winter well, we could be looking at 200 to 300 pounds of honey," Young said.

Hunt said she's wanted her own beehive for many years.

"It was really engrained in me at a young age to understand how essential bees are for our ecosystem," she said.

Many other places in the region also have rooftop hives, including the Kitchener Public Library.

"Our beehives are part of a larger initiative called '85 Green', which is a series of initiatives that promote food literacy and environmental sustainability," said Lindsey Skeen, manager of children and teen services with KPL.

Hunt plans to grow Walper's rooftop garden so the bees feel a little more at home.