In recognition of the significant role the province’s honey bees and native pollinators play in B.C.’s agricultural industry and the lives of British Columbians, May 29 is proclaimed Day of the Honey Bee.
“Honey bees and native pollinators may be small in size, but their everyday role in the lives of British Columbians is big and can be seen throughout the province,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. “Whether they’re pollinating crops for our agricultural sector or providing B.C. honey, bees are important to each and every one of us. Through programs like Bee BC, we are ensuring the health of honey bees for future generations.”
The Bee BC program provides funding to regional and community-based projects that support the health of B.C.’s bees. The fund provides support to research, explore, field test and share information about best management practices associated with bee health, with the latest funding supporting 15 new projects throughout B.C.
"The support of the grant from Bee BC allows us to cultivate 2.5 acres of our grass covered farm land into diverse forage for bees, which is really needed in the Powell River region,” said Darcy Kaltio, affiliate member, Blueberry Commons Farm Cooperative. “It's going to be beautiful! The educational signage will be an easy way for visitors to our farm to learn how they, too, can plant bee forage plants at home."
Blueberry Commons Farm Cooperative in Powell River is planting one hectare (2.5 acres) with diverse forage crops for pollinators, and holding tours and engaging with schools and community groups to promote the importance of increasing forage for honey bees and pollinators. The funding will also help support a mentoring program for beekeeping in their community.
In Victoria, beekeeper Evan Machin is comparing the overwintering survival rate between a Langstroth hive, a hive constructed by stacking rectangular boxes with removable frames for the bees to build comb in, and a natural-style hive made by bees. Machin is building a Langstroth hive that will closely resemble the natural hives that native bees use in the wild and he will share his findings with the beekeeping community.
The Bee BC program is administered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture.
- As crop pollinators and honey producers, honey bees and native pollinators have a critical role in B.C.’s sustainable food system, contributing an estimated $538 million to the provincial economy.
- Across Canada, honey bees and native pollinators have an economic contribution estimated at over $3.2 billion.
Find out more on Bee BC: https://iafbc.ca/bee-bc/
For information about the Ministry of Agriculture’s apiary program, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/animals-and-crops/animal-production/bees
A backgrounder follows.