BC announces funding for Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands to help improve bee health

BC announces funding for Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands to help improve bee health

File photo (CBC)

Some beekeepers on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands are participating in the province’s “Ethical Bees” project, that looks to improve the health of bee populations.

It allows for the selection of the best local traits of bees, while introducing highly desirable traits such as Varroa sensitive hygiene where the bees effectively prevent mites from reproducing.

The Varroa mite infests the eggs, larvae and pupae of honey bees as well as adult bees — one of the most destructive honey bee pests.

The project has given equipment in five different communities to support its activities throughout South and Central Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, with $3,000 of provincial funding also going to each region.

The initiative comes as bee populations across North America and globally are in decline due to various factors such as mites, pesticide use and habitat loss.

The Ministry of Agriculture made the announcement Saturday and says the project  has grown to include hundreds of hives and many substantial commercial apiaries.

“Bee heath and population have been slowly declining over the last few years in B.C.,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture in a statement.

“The funding from Bee BC is giving beekeepers the opportunity to help find ways to improve and grow the bee population so that British Columbians can depend on B.C. food for years to come.”

The project is part of the province’s Bee BC Program that looks to enhance bee health.

The program will provide $100,000 over the next two years to support small-scale regional or community-based projects to research, explore, field-test and share information about best management practices associated with bee health.

Julian KolsutJulian Kolsut

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