Thursday, December 10, 2015

Honey production increases by 11.4 per cent

Canadian honey production this year increased by 11.4 per cent and is worth $232 million, reports Statistics Canada.

"The industry is successful and is growing. It really is a positive message," says Rod Scarlett, executive director of the Canadian Honey Council.

The number of bee colonies increased by 3.6 per cent, largely due to milder temperatures last winter that reduced losses, mainly in the Prairies.

Scarlett said Canada is doing better than other countries where bee populations are declining.

"We have been one of the few areas that stand out, in part because the beekeepers are more well versed in best management practices and how to handle problems that crop up."

Those problems include controlling varroa mites. The Canadian Honey Council is also working on an action plan with the federal government to promote bee health including ways to reduce pesticide exposure in and outside the hive.

The Ontario Beekeepers Association is far more strident, especially in fingering neonicitinoid seed-treatment pesticides for bee deaths.

Scarlett said the biggest challenge facing the industry is competition from Argentina for the key United States market.

Argentina has also had a large crop this year.

Canada exports up to 70 per cent of its production, mainly to the U.S. Alberta is the leading producer.