A professional beekeeper has warned about the devastating impact a parasitic mite is having on honey farms in several parts of Canada.
Brad Ingram from Ingram Farms – a family business based in West Kelowna, British Columbia – revealed that the Varroa destructor had been wiping out colonies not just in his home region.
He told the Castanet news website: “It’s happening here and in the Prairies. We had our monthly meeting with the North Okanagan Beekeepers and the provincial inspector was in. He said he’s been to quite a few hives lost this year already, which is pretty unusual.”
The Canadian Prairies is a vast region in the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
The Varroa destructor is a globally existing parasite which reproduces by attaching to the body of the bee. The pollinator gets weaker as the mite sucks its fat-storage cells. A Varroa infestation can lead to the death of a whole honeybee colony.
Brad – who also runs Okanagan Beekeeping Supplies – furthermore explained that the low temperatures British Columbia had experienced this springtime would delay this year’s pollination season.
Statistics Canada reports that there were more than 783,000 honeybee colonies in the country in 2021. Ten years earlier, the agency registered fewer than 562,000.
There were almost 4,900 honeybee farms and apiculture businesses in Canada in 2021. This was a significant increase compared to the 3,300 in 2011.
With a share of 30 per cent, Ontario in east-central Canada was home to almost one in three beekeeping enterprises in 2021.