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Over 30 per cent of honeybee colonies lost in Saskatchewan during 2022

Abnormally high losses of bee colonies in Saskatchewan have resulted in the federal and provincial governments offering support to commercial beekeepers.

The province said there was a loss of over 30 per cent in honeybee colonies across Saskatchewan in 2022 due to dry conditions, colder-than-normal winter temperatures and more varroa mite activity.

Saskatchewan’s Agriculture Minister David Marit and Canada’s Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAuley announced $1 million in funding through the joint AgriRecovery program to help beekeepers get back on their feet.

“Bees play a vital role in pollinating so many of our crops and are integral to the success of our Canadian agricultural system,” MacAulay said.

“We want to ensure this industry remains strong, and this funding through AgriRecovery will help offset some of the challenges the honey bee sector in Saskatchewan has faced recently.”

According to Statistics Canada, the number of beekeepers in the province has been increasing year-over-year, with an average of 100,000 colonies in Saskatchewan.

“Commercial beekeeping operations have a critical role in our ecosystem and are also integral to Saskatchewan’s agriculture industry, pollinating crops while being responsible for roughly one-fifth of Canada’s honey production,” Marit said.

“This assistance covers up to 70 per cent of the costs related to replacing lost stock and colonies and is the most efficient option for helping restore commercial production.”

Nathan Wendell, president of the Saskatchewan Beekeepers Development Commission, said this support was greatly appreciated, noting the funding will help beekeepers rebuild their operations.

“Beyond their obvious economic contributions through honey production and crop pollination, bees have a unique natural role as the unsung heroes of not only the agriculture industry but the ecosystems in which we live and work,” Wendell said.

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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