Thomas Yesdresyski pulls out a tray from a hive next to the kitchen.

Thomas Yesdresyski pulls out a tray from a hive next to the kitchen.

Bear Mountain buzzing with honey

This year marks the first big honey harvest at the Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort and Spa with about 500 pounds of the sticky sweetener.

Thomas Yesdresyski moves nonchalantly among thousands of bees zipping around him as he opens up their hive.

Without hesitation his steady hands pull out the honeycomb tray dripping with the thick, golden nectar.

This year marks the first big honey harvest at the Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort and Spa with about 500 pounds of the sticky sweetener.

“Last year was a build up year,” Yesdresyski said, noting only a small amount of honey was harvested. Not all the honey in the hives is removed. About 70 pounds of honey is needed by the hive to survive the winter.

“The bees cluster in the hive to stay warm and they eat honey,” Yesdresyski said, adding the bees only forage during the spring and summer. In warmer climates, such as South America, bees can forage all year round. The harvested honey is then used in the hotel kitchen to create honey ice cream, savoury sauces and salad dressings.

“Once you start stealing honey the bees start to get more aggressive,” Yesdresyski said, as the Italian bees begun to swarm about while their honey was removed. “But when you realize what they are all about they are actually kind of harmless.”

Yesdresyski  is the restaurant’s sous chef, but he doubles as a beekeeper.

The resort uses honey from three hives located on Bear Mountain. One hive is near the Westin and the other two are kept at Yesdresyski’s home at the base of the mountain.

Each hive has nearly 70,000 bees.

After collecting the honey trays, each weighing up to 10 pounds, Yesdresyski brings them into the kitchen and gets ready to extract the honey.

“We don’t use any heat here, it’s 100 per cent raw. The hottest the honey ever gets is in the hive from the sun,” Yesdresyski said.

In the kitchen Yesdresyski begins scrapping the trays with an uncapping fork, removing the beeswax and sealing in the golden goodness.

The uncapped trays are then placed in a spinning cylinder called a honey extractor. Using centrifugal force the honey is spun out of the tray, which preserves the honey comb allowing it to be returned to the hive.

“The bees put so much work into the honey comb and you want to respect that,” Yesdresyski said.

The honey is also for sale at the Westin at Bear Mountain. The honey is created from the flowers and plants the bees have foraged from within eight kilometers from the hives.

charla@goldstreamgazette.com

Did you know?

• The average lifespan of a honey bee in the summer is about six weeks, though the queen can live several years.

• When a queen bee gets weak, the other bees hatch a new queen who then kills the old queen.

• Only female bees make honey. Male bees fertilize eggs and eat honey. In the winter the female bees cull the majority of the males to conserve honey.

 

Just Posted

Proposed design for the Topaz Park bike and skate park elements. (Courtesy City of Victoria)
Victoria requesting feedback on Topaz Park redesign

Public input now being taken for proposed skate, bike park ideas

Law Enforcement Torch Run in support of Special Olympics B.C. kicks off with a run at Swan Lake on June 6. The virtual fundraiser runs until June 20. (Saanich Police/Twitter)
Torch run seeks to scorch previous fundraiser, targets $75,000 for Special Olympics

Global movement shoots for 40,000 km in honour of the 40th anniversary

Improving safety at Keating Cross Road and the Pat Bay Highway is the goal of the flyover project currently in the works. The province aims to reveal the final cost and design this fall. (Screencap/Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)
Final budget, design of Keating flyover in Central Saanich still in the works

Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says information coming by this fall

Colin Davidson won $100K on a Set for Life scratch ticket in Sooke. (BCLC photo)
Sooke man does ‘happy dance’ after scratching a $100,000 Set for Life win

Colin Davidson plans to renovate his home and invest in his daughter’s education

West Shore RCMP K9 Halla. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sound of RCMP dog enough to stop suspects in Oak Bay

West Shore RCMP K9 unit called in, didn’t get to chase

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

CVSAR search the Puntledge River following a report of an abandoned kayak. Photo, CVSAR Facebook page
Comox Valley Search and Rescue spends four hours searching for no one

Overturned kayak a reminder for public to contact officials if they have to abandon a watercraft

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers tested more than 230 commonly used cosmetics and found that 56% of foundations and eye products, 48% of lip products and 47% of mascaras contained high levels of fluorine

White Rock’s Marine Drive has been converted to one-way traffic to allow more patio space for waterfront restaurants. (Peace Arch News)
Province promotes permanent pub patios in B.C. post-pandemic plan

More than 2,000 temporary expansions from COVID-19 rules

Lake City Secondary School Williams Lake campus students Ethan Reid, from left, Brenden Higgins, Ty Oviatt, Kaleb Alphonse, Nathan Kendrick and Landon Brink with RCMP officers Const. Nicoll and Const. Stancec. (Photo submitted)
RCMP thank 6 teens for helping prevent forest fire in Williams Lake

The students came across fire in a wooded area and used the water they had to try and extinguish the flames

Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre has embarked on a fundraising campaign, seeking to raise $1 million for establishment of an independent urban Indigenous school. Pictured here, Tsawalk Learning Centre students at an Orange Shirt Day event in September. (Submitted photo)
Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre looks to raise $1 million for urban Indigenous school

Centre says independent school would be first of its kind in B.C.

There is an emergency shelter near the Golden Ears peaks. (Facebook/Special to The News)
Hiker fogged in on Golden Ears, spends 2 nights

Talon Helicopters, Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue bring him home Monday

Most Read