CAAP Project S2-C "Saskatchewan Beekeepers Adapting Technology to Meet Their Needs: Hive Health, Colony Mortality and Productivity"

Saskatchewan has some of the highest honey production per colony of anywhere in the world. Our long summer days provide ample foraging time for honey bees. The oilseed and forage crops such as canola, sweet clover and alfalfa are also excellent floral sources of nectar. This short, intense season is one of the major reasons for our success in honey production and agriculture.

However the compressed season also presents challenges for the provinces beekeepers.  Colonies must survive a long, cold winter and rapidly expand in the spring. Beekeepers must carefully manage colonies for this increase to take full advantage of the short season. Fall management must also be carefully planned in order to get colonies adequately prepared for winter. The provinces beekeepers have been doing this effectively for the last 30 years when overwintering became a widely accepted practice in the province.

Varroa DestructorSMThat has changed in recent years.  The parasitic tracheal and Varroa mites, microsporidian parasites Nosema and viruses have had a dramatic impact on the industry. Winter losses that historically averaged around 10% have jumped to 30% or more. Perhaps more troubling is the highly variable losses of 60% to 80% or more experienced by some of the provinces beekeepers.  This level of overwintering loss is not sustainable for the provinces beekeepers.

 




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