Sarnia Solar Farm honeybee colonies: No. 1 of 8
“There’s an abundance of flowers and native plants at the farm, and that means lots of forage for the bees,” says Bria Atkins of BLB Honey and Beekeeping Supplies, which is managing the honeybee program at Sarnia Solar Farm.
Sarnia Solar Farm honeybee colonies: No. 2 of 8
BLB’s five colonies of native Ontario honeybee stock will live permanently on Sarnia Solar Farm, an 80-megawatt facility that produces enough electricity to power about 14,500 homes.
Sarnia Solar Farm honeybee colonies: No. 3 of 8
“At the end of June (2018), each hive had produced 100 pounds of honey, with lots of time left in the season—so their potential is looking great," remarks Bria Atkins.
Sarnia Solar Farm honeybee colonies: No. 4 of 8
This pollinator program is part of a larger five-year partnership between Sarnia Solar Farm—which has 1.3 million solar energy panels deployed on 650 of its 1,100 acres—and Return the Landscape, an Ontario non-profit that focuses on ecological restoration.
Sarnia Solar Farm honeybee colonies: No. 5 of 8
“What’s going on at the solar farm, with all those native species being planted, is just fantastic for the honeybees. For them and other pollinators, it really, really helps them out," says Tyler Atkins of BLB Honey Beekeeping Supplies.
Sarnia Solar Farm honeybee colonies: No. 6 of 8
As part of the pollinator program at Sarnia Solar Farm, a milkweed-for-monarchs initiative with Return the Landscape has brought in scores of monarch caterpillars and butterflies feeding on some of the 1,400 milkweed plugs planted on the farm in 2017.
Sarnia Solar Farm honeybee colonies: No. 7 of 8
Says Shawn McKnight of Return the Landscape: “We only use native plants in our landscape design and restoration—and when we’re done our work at the farm, it will be the largest meadow grassland in Ontario, outside of Walpole Island.”
Sarnia Solar Farm honeybee colonies: No. 8 of 8
In addition to honeybee colonies, Sarnia Solar Farm has also seen creation of a wetland habitat, expansion of a woodland habitat, and enhancement of a tallgrass prairie environment.