In honour of the role honey bees play in the daily lives of British Columbians and the B.C. agricultural industry, May 29 is proclaimed the Day of the Honey Bee.
“Honey bees and pollinators may be tiny but they contribute so much to our food supply, our ecosystem and our daily lives,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture and Food. “I’m passionate about supporting B.C. bees and our amazing beekeepers, and I am thrilled we are extending the Bee BC programs so we can continue to see community projects around the province that promote bee health while boosting our food security and food economy at the same time.”
The Bee BC program has supported nearly 90 community-led projects since 2018, helping with research, hive sustainability and public awareness and education. The program is being extended for three years through $225,000 of new funding to support more regional and community-based projects that promote bee health in the province. Application intake opens May 30, 2022.
“Country Bee Honey Farm graciously accepted the Bee BC grant in 2021, and this funding was used to purchase plants and seeds to plant a massive variety of flowers to help all sorts of pollinators on the Saanich Peninsula. It also allowed us to create educational signage and pamphlets to educate guests on our farm for years to come,” said Lindsay Dault, owner and beekeeper, Country Bee Honey Farm. “Without this grant, these projects would not have been possible and we are so very grateful to have been awarded it.”
Heather Higo, president, BC Honey Producers Association (BCHPA), said: “Bee BC and the Bee Tech Transfer program are welcome efforts by the Province to improve bee health and reduce honey bee losses. We thank Agriculture Minister Lana Popham for her considerable support and continued interest in improving pollinator health in B.C. This translates into better food security for British Columbians, through improved food systems and gives beekeepers access to important tools and support in their continued efforts to keep bees safe.”
Additionally, the Province partnered with the BCHPA in 2021 to support the new Bee Tech Transfer Program. The program provides $525,000 over three years to deliver education, applied research and other services to B.C. beekeepers.
- Honey bees and native pollinators have a crucial role in B.C.’s sustainable food system and contribute an estimated $250 million to $300 million per year to the provincial economy.
- In 2021, 4,300 B.C. beekeepers managed approximately 62,000 colonies in the province that produced nearly two million kilograms of honey.
- Through the Bee BC Program, regional or community-based organizations, beekeeping associations and beekeepers can receive as much as $7,000 for projects that promote bee health in the province.
- Since launching the Bee Tech Transfer Program, the BCHPA has engaged with approximately 1,000 beekeepers on standardized knowledge and best management practices for integrated pest management, overwintering, bee health outcomes, effective pollination and breeding for regionally hardy queens and bees.
- Communities throughout Canada celebrate May 29 as Day of the Honey Bee to honour New Zealand beekeeper and mountaineer Sir Edmund Hilary’s ascent of the summit of Mount Everest on that day in 1953.
Find out more about Bee BC: https://iafbc.ca/bee-bc/
Addition info on bee health and previously funded Bee BC projects: http://bcbeehealth.ca/
For information about the Ministry of Agriculture and Food’s apiary program, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/animals-and-crops/animal-production/bees
Bee Tech Transfer program: https://bchoneyproducers.ca/bchpa-technology-transfer-program-2021/
A backgrounder follows.