Marie-Laure et Chloé Filion – Les abeilles du Trait-Carré
Marie-Laure thanks for agreeing to do this interview with me! Beekeeping is a very interesting topic I’m sure that our readers at Apis Cera would like to know more about.
Apis Cera: Can you tell us where you live and how old you are?
Marie-Laure & Chloé: My sister Chloe and I are involved with our father in the development of a beekeeping business in urban areas. I’m 15 and my sister Chloe is 13 y/o. We are located in the Trait-Carré, a historic district of Quebec City.
Apis Cera: How and why did you get started with beekeeping?
Marie-Laure & Chloé: Our father bought a hive three years ago. We focused more actively on it two years ago. At first we were quite curious and with time we imagined to develop a beekeeping business to accumulate funds to pay the cost of our extracurricular activities. We are both members of our school soccer and swim team, and I am also a runner.
Apis Cera: How many hives do you have currently and how many did you start off with?
Marie-Laure & Chloé: We currently have 14 hives. Last year we had 6 and One the first year.
Apis Cera: What’s your favorite part of beekeeping?
Marie-Laure & Chloé: From the start, we shared responsibilities. I am responsible for communications, marketing, and the sale of our honey. Chloe is mainly concerned with the management of hives, following the Queen’s activity, the need to add honey supers, of all the things you can do to optimize the production of honey and keep the hives healthy. My father oversees (actively help us) at each stage of production, honey extraction and marketing.
Apis Cera: Aren’t you afraid of being stung?
Marie-Laure & Chloé: It may seems risky to approach the hives, especially when you see all very active bees. We take our precautions in protecting ourselves with proper clothing. It is especially important to let our colonies when arrive.. we slightly smoke out the hives when we approach. Not too much though as they can become aggressive. Unlike wasps, the bees sting only if they they feel threatened. Wasps on the other hand, are in constant defense of their territory.
Apis Cera: Are you witnessing any colony collapse in your area? Does your hives suffer this phenomenon?
Marie-Laure & Chloé: Our company Filion and Filles, is not affected by colony collapse. We make a very close monitoring of varroa populations in tracking and perform the required treatment early in the end of the season. We believe it is important not to develop Varroa populations, even if we have to sacrifice some of the honey production. In addition, as we are located in urban areas and the use of pesticides is prohibited, it protects our colonies. However, we hear of beekeepers in our region who have suffered significant losses, especially during the winter 2012-2013. In 2012, we had a long season beekeeping with an early spring, hot summer, which has fostered the development of varroa populations; everything needed for colony collapse!
Apis Cera: What kind of flowers, trees or plants does your environment offer to your lovely bees?
Marie-Laure & Chloé: We are fortunate to live in a very rich floral environment, the urban environment. In spring, flowering trees and shrubs is a real treat. In summer, with the gradual blooming flowers lawn, our bees are spoiled for choice. August came, fall plants like goldenrod, asters and all our fall flowers also offers a special nectar. By becoming aware of this diversity, we decided to perform three extractions used to differentiate our honey is the spring harvest (early season until mid-June), summer harvest (mid-June to end of July) and finally the flowers fall harvest (August)
Apis Cera: What’s your personal favorite type of honey?
Marie-Laure & Chloé: This is a very difficult question to answer. Honey very soft and rich spring pollen mainly developed from dandelion flower has a special appeal, especially because of its rarity. Summer proofed, honey consists of a thousand flowers, fine honey. What about the fall harvest honey that consist of goldenrod, asters but many fall flowers. A spicy and full-bodied honey and occasionally with a slight caramel taste. Finally, I opted for the fall honey, my sister for the summer honey and my father for the spring. Fortunately, the tastes are not to be discussed.
Apis Cera: Where do you see yourself in one year?
Marie-Laure & Chloé: As noted at the beginning, we are at our first steps, we are working to expand our distribution network. The year 2014 will be an important year whether we maintain our business at a very family level or we decide to develop plans for development over several years.
Apis Cera: Anything else?
Marie-Laure & Chloé: In summer 2012 , the second year of production, it became clear that we would need a logo, a business name and some containers . This is when we received extraordinary assistance . Our aunt is a designer designer at LG2, it’s an integrated advertising agency offering strategic planning, advertising, interactive communication, design and production. This company has accepted to develop all our equipment needed to start our business, for free. The honeypots label design Filion & Filles won an award for the Canadian competition Applied Arts. This support is renewed again. We began discussions for the development of a website to help us in promoting our products. Feel free to visit our Facebook page!