• Lauren Mitchell

Birthday buzz in St. Lazare


PHOTOS COURTESY DOMENICO CIARALLO

St. Lazare resident Alexis Ciarallo received a bee hive consisting of 5,000 bees for her 15th birthday due to her fascination with the idea of saving bees. The hives were presented by experienced beekeeper Dr. Wylie Hudspeth.

St. Lazare resident Alexis Ciarallo turned 15 May 26 and celebrated the event in a manner unlike most other teenagers. Fascinated with the idea of saving bees from extinction ever since she watched Jerry Seinfeld’s “Bee Movie,” her father, Domenico Ciarallo, decided to ask his friend of 10 years Dr. Wylie Hudspeth, an experienced apiarist, for a favour.

“Wylie is a very successful bee keeper,” said Domenico Ciarallo. “He sells honey, bee-friendly fertilizer, and he’s also a breeder. So he said to me, ‘I know your daughter loves nature, and I want to do something that is going to change her life’. And then brought us a hive.”

The hive that they received on the night of Alexis’ birthday was filled with over 5,000 bees with a population of 80 per cent female worker bees, 20 per cent male drones, and of course one queen bee. The queen bee will lay over 1,000 eggs a day, with which Ciarallo says they should end up with at least 50,000 bees by the end of the summer.

“He said ‘I’ll come set up a hive of about five thousand bees’,” said Ciarallo. “And I said ‘Five thousand bees? Are you crazy? We see one bee and we freak out, and you want to put five thousand in my backyard?’ But he told me five thousand wasn’t a lot, and he educated me on the whole process.”

The bee hive has turned into an educational object for the children and adults of the neighbourhood, as everyone around came to visit the new addition to the Ciarallo home. Alexis Ciarallo took on the teaching role, explaining that these bees are non-aggressive, so they won’t bother to sting you, and that the neighbours’ gardens should grow since pollination of their flowers will actually help them become healthier. Alexis has even turned to educating her siblings, Nicolas (16) and Sasha (13) about the wonders of the bees.

The hive will also provide a new experience for Ciarallo with entrepreneurial possibilities, as her father said they’ve considered harvesting the honey made by the bees into jars to be sold with profits donated to a charity organization of their choice. By the end of the summer, Domenico Ciarallo is hoping the estimated 80 pounds of honeycomb will produce 160 half-pound jars of fresh honey to be sold by his daughter.

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