NSERC-CANPOLIN is pleased to launch floral calendar for all of Canada.
Honey & Pollen Plants for Canada`s Beekeepers
An Annotated Floral Calendar
(A mobile version of the website is also available - click here )
The electronic floral calendar offers information on over 270 honey and pollen plants found across Canada, including the type of resource it provides for bees (nectar, pollen, resins) and photos to aid in identification. The list of plants is easily searched by the scientific and common names or by blooming season (Spring, Summer, Fall).
Why Make a Floral Calendar? Beekeepers are naturally interested in the flowers that provide sustenance for their bees. Some flowers provide mostly nectar which the bees make into honey, others produce only pollen which is the protein source for bee nutrition, and most produce both. Beekeepers find it useful to know what flowers are in bloom and when in their area of operation. Books on the floral resources used by honeybees have always been part of beekeeping lore, and the new website makes this information readily available to anyone with internet access.
The new site builds on the floral calendar previously created for Ontario beekeepers that was developed with funding from Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and launched in late 2013. The expanded national version was created with in-kind support from NSERC-CANPOLIN and Seeds of Diversity, which is the official home of Pollination Canada.
Canadian Honey Council’s Submission to Health Canada’s call for comments on notice of intent NO12013-01
“ACTION TO PROTECT BEES FROM EXPOSURE TO NEONICOTINOID PESTICIDES”
The Canadian Honey Council represents over 8000 beekeepers managing over 700,000 colonies from across Canada. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has estimated that pollinators contribute over $2.3 billion to the Canadian economy. Honey bees and the protection of pollinators in general have taken a centre stage as a result of pesticide incidents and exposure and the CHC would like to express its appreciation for the work that the PMRA has, and continues to do. However, in certain regions of Canada, our beekeepers are suffering from the prophylactic use of seed treatments and Canada’s pesticide regulatory agency must take rapid action to reduce/eliminate the ongoing impacts of pesticide use on bees.
The Canadian Honey Council recognizes that growers, regulators, and beekeepers need to work together to mitigate risks and believes it is imperative that the use of neonicotinoid seed treatments must be reduced, and where problems exist, they must be addressed as quickly and efficiently as possible. With support from growers and their organizations, the CHC would like to see implementation of integrated pest management procedures and a significant use reduction of neonicotinoids in those corn and soy growing areas where current problems have been identified. This reduction should happen in the immediate future as the current situation has jeopardized many beekeeping operations. Co-operative efforts for this to occur need to be undertaken immediately.
Comments concerning requiring the use of safer dust-reducing seed flow lubricants
The introduction of a new seed flow lubricant with lower dust emission is a positive point but may not be a definitive solution. Although we are not privy to the testing results, we certainly hope that it lowers neonicotinoid levels in the environment, however, there could still be the possibility of the distribution for neonicotinoids through its systemic nature that warrants more investigation and study by PMRA. The impacts of neonicotinoids on bees results from their overexposure to this new substance in numerous specific conditions. This overexposure results from both the extensive use of the products as protection on specific crops and it would appear, from the extended exposure period for the pollinators through the season.
Furthermore, while the new lubricant may theoretically reduce the number of acute toxicity incidents by lowering the amount of dust in the air, it may not be the case if the neonicotinoids are used in higher concentrations (Poncho 500 instead of Poncho 250). Bees will still be exposed though various routes like run off water, pollen or nectar at levels that may be problematic. Again, more research is required to determine the extent but the time required to obtain the research must not interfere with the short term need to reduce the use of these pesticides.
There is a growing body of evidence that the neonicotinoid charge in the environment is building up with the years of continuous use and both the level of exposure and the impacts for the pollinators seem to be increasing particularly in corn and soy growing areas. For instance, there is an indication that bee intoxications caused by the water puddles, is an emergent problem.
Comments on requiring adherence to safer seed planting practices
While recognizing that beekeepers are not necessarily crop producers it is apparent that certain measures are vague: good practices are not specified. Promoting vague good practice measures is not an adequate answer when the problem results from overuse and not misuse. No misuse has been documented so far. The actual proposal focuses for good practices strictly on planting. While planting is indeed important, the focus must be enlarged and cover, upstream, the necessity or not to use neonicotinoid treated seeds. The first and most important good practice is to use neonicotinoid treated seeds (or other phytosanitary treatments) only after verifying for the presence of soil damaging pests at levels exceeding economical thresholds.
With the assistance and active involvement of farm organizations whose members are growers of crops that use treated seed, supported as well by the companies that developed and apply the product, crop producers must be convinced that accurate agronomic information pertaining to pests can be obtained in the fall. That information can result in the planting of seed with or without pesticides and that their bottom line will not be adversely affected. In conjunction with the options available to producers, seed companies should then be able to make available an array of products that are appropriate for the risk. The CHC strongly suggests that Integrated Pest Management procedures should actively be promoted by PMRA.
Comments on requiring new pesticide and seed package labels with enhanced warnings
Labeling is an important point, but here again the measure is too vague. The nature of the information on the label is of paramount importance. It should, at the very least, cover the following aspects:
a) danger for the pollinators and routes of exposure (mentioning dust, foraging for water, nectar and pollen).
b) mitigation measures to reduce dust emission (approved lubricant, other good practices refer to external document and/or website)
The Canadian Honey Council also feels that it would be very beneficial if there was strong and prescriptive of wording that recommended crop producers have agronomic testing done each fall to determine the need for purchase of treated seed. This reinforces and educates producers while at the same time helps promote an integrated pest management system.
Comment on requiring updated value information be provided to support the continued need for neonicotinoid treatment on up to 100% of the corn seed and 50% of the soybean seed.
Data requested from the registrants on the need for continuous use of neonicotinoids must be obtained expeditiously and if it is not delivered in a timely manner, other peer reviewed science based research sources should be considered. As PMRA states in the Notice of intent: the use of neonicotinoids is unsustainable. The Canadian Honey Council recognizes that seed treatments used in an Integrated Pest Management strategy are an important tool for growers across Canada. We strongly encourage PMRA to evaluate the need for massive prophylactic seed treatment particularly given the fact that in all likelihood systemic seed treatment will be the wave of the future.
Working cooperatively with all players in the industry, and where economics and agronomics dictate, the Canadian Honey Council would like to see the implementation of integrated pest management procedures and a rapid and important reduction in the use of treated seed in corn and soy. Equally important is that we examine ways to reduce the risk of exposure to honey bees when use is required (according to specific technical standard).
Rod Scarlett, Executive Director, Canadian Honey Council
Risk assessment for US Honey Bees CHC Response
November 25, 2013
Dr. Francine Lord,
Re: Risk Assessment for US Honey Bees
The Canadian Honey Council is the umbrella organization of the provincial associations and as such recognizes that there are many regional differences. The feasibility of importing packaged bees from the United States is a divisive issue within the beekeeping community. In some regions it represents a top priority, in others not so much. We are pleased that the CFIA conducted a risk assessment and have asked for comments. Whatever the final outcome, rest assured that the health and wellbeing of Canadian bee stock is a priority of the CHC.
Because most provinces have their own Bee Act or something similar, the CHC has decided not to weigh in on the pros and cons of importing packages, but will ask that decisions be based on science and not just economics. Each provincial association, in addition to individual beekeepers will be expressing their opinion independent from the national organization. The CHC would, however, request that we be included in any consultation or decision making process on this issue.
Once again, we would like to express our appreciation for the work CFIA has done on this file and encourage you to continually update the risk assessment as new information is received.
By now many of you will have received a package of information in which there is a "Honey Bee Producer Guide to the National Bee Farm-Level Biosecurity Standard". This document is the culmination of a coperative effort between beekeepers, Provincial Apiarists, and CFIA. This tool will provide practical guidance, tidbits of information for beekeepers to keep in mind in order to assist them in ensuring their operations minimize the threat of disease, pests, pathogens and parasites. It represents an important step in the growth of the industry as it recognizes the importance, and the vulnerability, of the bekeeping industry in Canada. The Government of Canada should be congratulated for investing in our industry in such an important way. It is hoped that beekeepers take the time to review the information and adopt those practices that are relevant to their operation. If you would like a copy of the Guide, please see the see thefollowing:
Link to the National Bee Farm-Level Biosecurity Standard
Statistical Overview of the Canadian Honey Industry - 2012
The Horticulture and Cross Sectoral Division of the Sector Development and Analysis Directorate, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is pleased to present the latest report: “Statistical Overview of the Canadian Honey Industry - 2012”. This report has been prepared by Nili Katz and Anthony Ragoo.
Notice of Intent: Action to Protect Bees from Exposure to Neonicotinoid Pesticides / Avis d’intention : Mesure visant à protéger
Health Canada is publishing a Notice of Intent to solicit comments on its intended measure to mitigate risks to pollinators related to the use of neonicotinoid treated corn and soybean seed. The document and contact information to submit comments can be found at:
If you have any further questions please contact the Pest Management Information Service by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 1-800-267-6315.
CAPA Statement on Honey Bee Wintering Losses in Canada (2013)
In 2013, the Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists (CAPA) National Survey committee developed a core set of questions that the Provincial Apiarists’ surveys could use to report on honey bee wintering losses in their province. The following report is a summary of the reported winter losses from the provincial surveys.
CFIA Food inspection model
CFIA improved food inspection model available online
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has concluded consultations on an improved food inspection model and has posted the final document to the Agency’s external website. The model has been built by stakeholders and proposes a single and consistent approach to food inspection across all regulated food commodities – whether imported, exported or prepared domestically for sale across provincial borders or internationally.
Le modèle amélioré d’inspection des aliments de l’ACIA est disponible en ligne
L’Agence canadienne d’inspection des aliments (ACIA) a terminé les consultations sur le modèle amélioré d’inspection des aliments et a publié la version définitive du document sur le site externe de l’Agence. Le modèle a été établi par les intervenants et propose une approche unique et cohérente pour l’inspection de l’ensemble des produits alimentaires réglementés, qu’ils soient importés, exportés ou préparés au Canada à des fins de vente dans d’autres provinces et à l’échelle internationale.
Fred Rathje and Willy Baumgartner Awards
The Fred Rathje trophy is awarded annually to: "an individual who has made a significant positive contribution of innovative, creative and effective effort for the betterment of the Canadian honey bee industry".
Please send nominations to:
CFIA changes to accepted construction materials
Honey producers please note that the CFIA Reference Listing of Accepted Construction Materials, Packaging Materials and Non-Food Chemical Products in the future will not be maintained under Inspection Modernization. Registered/licenced food (honey) establishments will be required to obtain their own letters from manufacturers stating that their products are food grade and/or appropriate to use in a food establishment.
Canadian Honey Council Bee Incident Committee Recommendations
#1. Reporting an Incident
#2. Investigating an incident
1) CHC recommends that PMRA, in cooperation with Provincial authorities, registrants, and the CHC develop a standard sample collection/investigation procedure so the necessary steps are taken for proper analysis. CHC should be consulted on this for the final draft.
Analyzing toxicity levels of certain chemicals/ insecticides
1. It is recommended that the CHC ask CropLife Canada (CLC) to collect and summarize public data on value and contribution of Plant Protection products.
#4 Point of contact? Seed treatments/dust or Surface/Aerial spray applications
1. It is recommended that the CHC should request CLC to expand the planned webinar on pesticide toxicity to pollinators to include routes of exposure.
#5 Recommendations/Best Management Practices for beekeepers, seed companies/chemical companies, crop growers, applicators, ag equipment manufacturers
1. It is recommended that the CHC develop an agenda plan and venue for a discussion with stakeholders regarding the contribution of pollination to agriculture.
PMRA website revision
Revisions to PMRA website are now available
Production and Value of Honey 2012
Canadian beekeepers produced 90.9 million pounds of honey in 2012, a 13.8% increase from 2011. Canada had 8,126 beekeepers in 2012, 413 more than in 2011.
Health Canada - Ontario Bee Incidents
2012 - Update
Pesticides used on treated corn
From: Conference for Can. Assn. of Professional Apiculturists
Pesticides used on treated corn seeds “may” have contributed to “at least some of the 2012 spring bee losses that occurred in Ontario,” Health Canada has told Better Farming via email. The email, from Health Canada media relations officer Sara O’Dacre, says other factors are being considered and that “final conclusions” have not been made. “Given the large number of potential factors involved, Health Canada, along with its provincial colleagues, is continuing to examine other factors, including overall bee health, agriculture practices and environmental conditions,” the email says. In early summer, the federal Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) began a re-evaluation of a group of insecticides used to protect seeds and crops from insects because more than 100 incidents of acute poisoning symptoms were reported to the PMRA and the provincial environment and agriculture ministries. Most occurred in southwestern Ontario. The products being re-evaluated are clothianidin, thiamethoxam and imidacloprid. They are all neonicotinoid insecticides, a class of insecticides that act on the central nervous system of insects and can kill bees. The re-evaluation covers these active ingredients and their associated products registered in Canada. Imidacloprid was already being re-evaluated when the agency announced the review of the other two, PMRA says.
National Bee Diagnostic Centre Opens at Beaverlodge, Alberta
BEAVERLODGE, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - September 05, 2012) - Here in the heart of the Peace Country, long known as one of Canada's major honey-producing regions, there is heartfelt celebration at the completion of the National Bee Diagnostic Centre, a new laboratory under the management of Grande Prairie Regional College (GPRC) located at the Beaverlodge research farm of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The occasion was marked today by a ribbon-cutting celebration, and honoured by the presence of the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification and Chris Warkentin, Member of Parliament for Peace River, among the attending dignitaries.
Funding to establish the new National Bee Diagnostic Centre was provided by Western Economic Diversification Canada, the Alberta Rural Development Fund, and GPRC. The $2.2 million project included a new building and diagnostic equipment. Two members of the scientific team are already in place, and GPRC is working on finalizing details as equipment is installed. Diagnostic services are expected to begin within the next few weeks.
"Our Government recognizes the significant role of the beekeeping industry in contributing to the overall health of our agricultural sector and supporting jobs in communities across Western Canada," said Minister Yelich. "Today's opening will help ensure the continued strength of our bee and honey industry, while enabling beekeepers to access the resources they need to grow their businesses and remain competitive."
The Centre, which is located next to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Beaverlodge Research Farm, will be the only one of its kind in Canada to offer a wide range of comprehensive services to beekeeping businesses all under one roof. It will focus on detecting and diagnosing the health of honey bees, providing scientific support to facilitate the importing and exporting of bees, and preventing or reducing winter losses. The Centre is expected to perform approximately 1,500 diagnostic services each year for businesses and other clients. These services will help increase the growth, international competitiveness and profitability of this important industry.
"We are proud to work with Grande Prairie Regional College to support research and promote the health of honey bees," said MP Warkentin. "As
The opening of the National Bee Diagnostic Centre now positions Alberta as a global leader in beekeeping research and diagnostic technology, and will have a critical impact on the continued health of the bee and honey industry while fostering the continued growth of beekeeping businesses here and around the world.
"This facility is a very welcome opportunity for our region and our College," said Don Gnatiuk, GPRC President and CEO. "More than that, this
For more info, contact Kamie Currie, Project Officer, Rural Alberta Development Fund
East and West Differences, plus Virus and Disease Differences
From the desk of Dr. Medhat Nasr Alberta Provincial Apiculturist, Pest Surveillance Branch
East and West Differences, plus Virus and Disease Differences. CCD is not as simple as we hoped.
Honey bees that succumb to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) carry a colony-specific group of three or four pathogens that tend to be unique to
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