Just spoke with Chris Jordan at the PEI Dept of Agriculture – he’s the person responsible for bees on PEI. We do need more bees on PEI because of our blueberry production, and the blueberry processors have their own beekeeping operations that send hives out to producer fields. Each summer they import hives as “rentals” for the summer to take care of the shortage – mostly from Ontario – and the PEI government looks after the inspection process. Right now there are about 7000 colonies of bees on PEI.
Both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have honeybee colony expansion program – specifically for blueberries (5 years in NB, 2 years on NS) – offered in PEI for only 1 season and funding then cut (went overbudget because high demand).
If you know of anyone who is interested in being a beekeeper then please have them contact Chris Jordan at (902) 314-0816 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Also he said that there has never in his 15 years or experience been an official reporting of bee deaths due to neonics on PEI, but that beekeepers are keeping a close watch because they are concerned this might happen. He said that neonic kills are handled federally by the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA). The PMRA documents any kills via an established process. There has been improvements in pesticide labeling to inform users if a given pesticide is considered dangerous to bees.
Total number of bees in Canada, and especially PEI, are continuously increasing.
- PEI = reports numbers of bees a couple of times per year – June 1st is peak so that date is used
- as of June 1st – peak number of colonies for blueberry colonization – 7000 colonies
- not enough bees for pollination
- imported 3800 colonies from Ontario this summer – sent back at end of season – done by blueberry processors – Dept of Agrictulture (Chris Jordan) processes permits based on reports from exporting government agencies that have inspected them
- in the last 15 years (or more) PEI beekeepers have never been able to meet the demand for blueberry pollination
- PEI can only sustain a limited number of bees, before needing feed them sucrose
- expensive to get into and high risk – can lose bees quickly if not trained properly
- don’t have studies to know what number of colonies would satisfies PEI needs – blueberries is bottleneck because use so many
- always have enough for other crops – canola, pumpkins, borage
- Do we need more beehives on PEI? Yes.
- Both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have honeybee colony expansion program – specifically for blueberries (5 years in NB, 2 years on NS) – offered in PEI for only 1 season and funding then cut (went overbudget because high demand)
- Neonics – PMRA (Pest Mgmt Regulatory Agecy) – if suspected bee kill then report federally and documented – process published online – no neonic beekills reported in PEI (yet) – Ontario / Quebec have many cases – federal jurisdiction – increase labelling on pesticides w.r.t. bees
- BRAGGS and Wymans both have their own beekeeping operations