Alberta has a variety of wild pollinators. Bee researcher Sam Robinson showed a display of numerous pollinators collected in 
the Lethbridge region. | Barb Glen photo

VIDEO: One bee doesn’t fit all jobs

The distance a honeybee will fly to gather nectar or pollen is an important factor in crop economics. It dictates the number of hives needed to ensure successful pollination of seed canola crops and also has implications for optimum hive location. Sam Robinson, a PhD student at the University of Calgary, is studying that distance […] Read more

There continues to be skepticism about the contention that neonicotinoids harm bee populations. | File photo

Opinions, studies on neonicotinoids contradictory

Farmers, apiculturists and ag researchers say many studies citing harm to bee populations don’t hold up

Ontario’s plan to restrict neonicotinoid use is on track now that a request to appeal the new regulations was denied, but the debate is far from over. Ontario farmers cannot use the seed treatments on 50 percent of their crops this year and on any of them next year unless they submit crop and soil […] Read more

A new smartphone app enables communication between beekeepers, sprayer operators and farmers. | File photo

What’s the buzz about?

BeeConnected is the latest software created to assist farmers with better on-farm practices. It enables communication between beekeepers, sprayer operators and farmers. CropLife Canada and the Canadian Honey Council worked together to develop the free app. It shares information of farm pesticide activities and beehive locations with registered users. The app will provide information through […] Read more


The primary reason for minimal losses this year was the warm fall and pleasant winter in Ontario. | File photo

Bee deaths reported low this winter

After years of severe winter losses, Ontario bee colonies look great this spring as the vast majority of hives survived the winter. On Tibor Szabo’s beekeeping operation, near Moffat, Ont., essentially every hive is still alive. “I’m about 99 percent (survival),” said Szabo, Ontario Beekeepers’ Association (OBA) president. Winter losses weren’t quite as low at […] Read more

Producers who rely on leafcutters for pollination say there is no pollination data about them. | File photo

Leafcutter bees operate in the dark

BROOKS, Alta. — Leafcutter bees are integral to the production of alfalfa seed, but they go unrecognized in national data on pollination related to agriculture. Bee researcher Shelley Hoover of Alberta Agriculture said leafcutters pollinate alfalfa as well as southern Alberta’s valuable seed canola crops, and statistically recognizing their value could leverage research money as it […] Read more


Extreme temperature changes during shipping have been blamed for queen bees not living as long as they once did.  |  File photo

The reasons queen bees are dying sooner

Not long ago, queen bees lasted two to three years before a beekeeper had to replace them. But they’re not living that long any more and beekeepers are asking why. “I don’t know if you get a year and a half any more…. So. What’s going on? Why are the queens not lasting?” asked Bryan […] Read more

A Peavey Mart spokesman said beekeeping supplies is a growing category for the hardware store. | File photo

Thinking of getting into bees? Here’s what you need to know

This year, Deb Krause hopes to dip her toe into beekeeping The Thorhild, Alta., market gardener wants a colony of bees to pollinate her garden and offer a bit of honey for her Community Supported Agriculture boxes. “I’m hoping it will give an extra boost of pollinators around,” said Krause, who hand pollinates the squash […] Read more

Scientists with the U.S. Department of Agriculture may have found an answer why queen bees aren't living as long as they used to. | Flickr/USDA photo by Lance Cheung.

Queen bees dying sooner. Here’s why

Not long ago, queen bees lasted two to three years before a beekeeper had to replace them. But they’re not living that long any more and beekeepers are asking why. “I don’t know if you get a year and a half any more…. So. What’s going on? Why are the queens not lasting?” asked Bryan […] Read more


The Ontario Beekeepers Association said the PMRA scientists used questionable methods and assumptions about seed treatments in their analysis, and that the bulk of scientific evidence proves neonics are a threat to bees. | File photo

Ontario beekeepers dispute latest neonic study

A Health Canada study on neonicotinoid seed treatments has irritated beekeepers in Ontario and delighted defenders of the technology. However, it’s probably premature to be outraged or to celebrate because Health Canada will release two more reports on neonicotinoids later this year. The Pest Management Regulatory Agency, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the State […] Read more

Media coverage has convinced many Canadians that bees are in serious trouble, however Honey council chair Kevin Nixon said Canada’s beekeeping industry is prospering. | File photo

Honeybee colonies show increase despite ‘bee apocalypse’ reports

The opening line of an article posted on CBC News’s website last May summarized a commonly held belief about honeybees: “The collapse of bee colonies nationwide (in Canada) is well-established and beyond dispute.” A provocative lead, but not true. Statistics Canada data shows that honeybee colony numbers have increased steadily from 637,920 colonies in 2011 […] Read more