bee on lavender plant

Hotel Spotlight: Beekeeping at the Coast Bastion Hotel

Hotel Spotlight: Beekeeping at the Coast Bastion Hotel

At Coast Hotels, conservation is important. Though our first priority is creating a comfortable environment for your stay, we also value the environment and want to help keep our locations spectacular, no matter where they are. We work towards this goal in a variety of ways through our sustainability program, Refreshingly Green. One of the green initiatives we introduced last year was the bee program at Coast Bastion Hotel in Nanaimo, BC. The hotel welcomed 60,000 honey bees from New Zealand last year and is the first property in the Coast brand to launch a hotel honey bee program! Learn what all the buzz is about at the hotel and if you feel inspired to help, be a steward of the environment with us; we have some simple at-home ideas for how you can “bee sustainable” and help the bees at home!

coast bastion exterior sitting in front of harbour

Why Bees?

Since the late 1990s, beekeepers around the world have observed a rapid decrease in honey bee populations, resulting in a disappearance of honey bee colonies. Though bees are an insect that some may find pesky, the pollinating activities that bees take part in are essential to the world’s ecosystems. In fact, a third of the world’s food sources depend on pollination from insects.

bee on yellow flower

Pollination by bees and other insects is vital; pollination by humans is labour-intensive and isn’t feasible for the long term. Instead, action must be taken to ensure that the honey bee population is protected and encouraged to grow! Coast Bastion Hotel saw an opportunity to help the community and they were immediately on board with the initiative to help grow the bee population in Nanaimo.

The Bee Program at Coast Bastion Hotel

In April 2018, Coast Bastion Hotel welcomed 60,000 guests—New Zealand honey bees! These bees not only checked into the hotel but took up residence in the six hives on the hotel’s second-floor rooftop. The bee population has grown since then to six, three-story tall hives. Providing a well-kept space for honey bees is a huge step in our sustainability efforts. As a second benefit, the honey bees are a great way for Coast Hotels to get involved in something that helps the environment.

bees swarming around honeycomb

Caring for the bees takes time, knowledge, and attention, which is why we couldn’t have asked for a better beekeeper than our very own Theo Fredrich. Theo is a long-time beekeeper and is the owner of Fredrich’s Honey. His job as Coast Bastion Hotel beekeeper includes harvesting the honey for the hotel to then purchase. The refreshing, local honey produced is then used in many of the dishes created at the hotel restaurant, Minnoz Restaurant and Lounge. When you come to visit, make sure you try one of the menu items featuring the honey! Theo’s dedication to this project is a result of his passion for boosting pollination and helping bees thrive in Nanaimo.

Help Bees At Home!

Even if you don’t feel like taking the plunge and suiting up in a beekeeper suit to tend to your own hives, there’s plenty that you can do to provide honey bees with the resources needed to survive and thrive.

Among the many things to do, you can spend your free time making small efforts at home to help boost the bee population. Here are our top tips:

1. Plant a bee-friendly garden

bees enjoying lavender

Planting a bee-friendly garden is not as complicated as it might sound! Flowers help feed bees, which is why they are so great at pollination. Beyond flowers, bee-friendly trees can also be a great addition to your garden. Grow flowering plants that are native to your area; even better, create a garden with a series of plants that flower at different times throughout the year. This might include some extra planning to make sure that you have something flower in spring, summer, fall, and winter, but the well-being of the bees in your area is critical!

2. Leave water out

bees drinking water on plateOne way to help bees that you might not think of is simply by providing water for the bees to stay hydrated! Bees need water to survive; however, birdbaths are often too deep and can lead to drowning. That can easily be prevented by providing a shallow place to drink out of with rocks or other items for the bees to rest on.

3. Avoid pesticides or herbicides

One of the leading causes for bee population decline is harmful pesticides called neonicotinoids. These and other pesticides attack the central nervous systems of insects, including bees. While clover and dandelions may not win you the ‘best lawn on the street’ award, being open to these does promote bees with a source of energy. Give yourself a break and embrace a new view of what your lawn should look like! Since we’re so dependent on bees for our food production, but our food production methods can actually be detrimental to both wild and honey bees, it’s important to think twice about the foods that we choose to eat. You can even help by choosing organic whenever you can at the supermarket!

4. Support your local beekeeper

bee keepers looking at honey

Local honey tastes good, and it’s also so much better for the environment! Buy local organic honey, instead of large brands from the supermarket. Local beekeepers typically tend to the hives much differently and with more care for bee health and well-being. If you want to support them even more, check out local bee farms to see if there are volunteer opportunities.

5. Start your own bee hotel!

bee hotel boxes

Do you want to suit up and start your own bee colony? If you have a backyard or a large garden, you have all the space you need to build a home for the bees. By building and caring for your own hive, you can make a big impact on bees by helping to reduce habitat loss. Bee blocks or a bee hotel are available for purchase at garden stores or online. You may even want to take a course on beekeeping!

Stay at a Bee-Friendly Hotel

Experience the bees in action in Nanaimo’s downtown gardens or taste the locally produced honey at our very own Minnoz Restaurant and Lounge, which offers fresh local food.

interior shot of minnoz

The Coast Bastion Hotel is located in the heart of downtown, just minutes from the ferry terminal. Step outside the hotel and experience the seawall walkway, countless restaurants, bars, and boutiques. Afterward, return to your room and enjoy the bright and modern amenities, with spectacular ocean views!

Other amenities include:

● Fitness centre
● Pure Spa
● Studio 31 Salon
● Bike storage
● Valet
● Complimentary Wi-Fi

coast bastion hotel bed

Come experience Coast Bastion Hotel for yourself, right in Nanaimo, BC. Contact us to book your stay at Nanaimo’s landmark hotel today!