Beekeepers in northeastern Canada have expressed concerns regarding the future of their colonies despite their comparably low wintertime loss records.
Referring to parasites such as Varroa destructor, Don Lambert of the Capital Region Beekeepers Association (CRBA) told the Times Colonist: “What we have got to look at and ask is why are our local bees not thriving.”
Beekeepers in the province of British Columbia lost 32 per cent of their hives in the winter of 2021/2022, according to the Federal Agriculture Ministry.
With a mortality of 49 per cent, apiaries in Ontario struggled the worst. The average loss across Canada reportedly ranged around 46 per cent.
Speaking to Victoria-based broadcaster CHEK-DT, Don – who has 12 years of beekeeping – explained that Varroa mites “injects all kinds of viruses and diseases and pathogens into the bees.”
The CRBA vice president compared the parasite’s actions with what mosquitoes do when they bite humans.
Varroa infestations, the excessive application of pesticides and global warming are seen as the biggest threats to global pollinator populations.
Despite it all, Don managed to ensure that all of his honeybees made it through the cold season for five years in a row.
The apiarist from Vancouver Island told CHEK-DT that he had achieved this by keeping them warm, dry and healthy in the region’s rough conditions.
Don said: “That just takes time and practice, patience and lots of humility”.