Bees play a vital role in British Columbia’s environment and to B.C.’s agriculture sector.
- Crops and flowering plants cannot live and reproduce without the help of bees and pollinators.
- Honeybees play a major role in agriculture as pollinators of crops, contributing an estimated $538 million to the B.C. economy and over $3.2 billion across Canada.
- The Province has committed $150,000 to Bee BC, a fund that supports bee health projects in B.C. communities.
- The B.C. government is supporting research to improve the resilience and health of honeybee colonies used to pollinate commercial crops.
- There are almost 2,700 beekeepers throughout B.C., operating as a hobby, or part-time or full-time business, with more than 52,000 colonies.
- The ministry has one of Canada’s foremost apiary specialists on staff, and as well as 10 assigned bee inspectors in 10 regions, who provide free support services to B.C.’s beekeepers.
- If there are any indications of a disease outbreak anywhere in B.C., services are offered to the beekeeper through inspectors or the provincial apiculturalist.
- In May 2018, Bee BC received $100,000 in funding to support community-based projects on bee health to research, as well as to explore, field-test and share information about best management practices associated with bee health.
- In October 2018, Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture, announced an additional $50,000 in funding through Bee BC to help support even more community-based projects.
- Information about all facets of beekeeping management is available online: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/animals-and-crops/animal-production/bees/beekeeping-bulletins
Bee health and neonicotinoids:
- The B.C. government and provincial bee inspectors work with counterparts, in federal, provincial and territorial governments, to share the latest science and information regarding bee health.
- The registration of pesticides falls under federal authority and is administered by Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA).
- In 2012, the federal government announced it would re-evaluate three of the most commonly used neonicotinoids in Canada.
- In late 2016, the PMRA published a decision, calling for a phase-out of all commercial agricultural uses of imidacloprid (one of the neonicotinoids under review) based on risks to aquatic organisms.
- The PMRA launched a special review of two additional widely used neonicotinoids, clothianidin and thiamethoxam, to assess their potential impact on aquatic organisms.
- The Province is interested in the final evaluations that will result from the federal review, and will rely on their scientists and expertise.
More information about bees, apiculture and support services offered to British Columbian beekeepers is available online:
The Ministry of Agriculture introduced a new Bee Regulation in 2015, as part of the Animal Health Act. A summary of the regulation is online: