It’s only spring, but Beekeepers in Nova Scotia are already dealing with new threats to the province’s pollinators.
The provincial government has revealed that they will again allow the importation of honey bee hives from Ontario. This is significant for a number of reasons that might not be evident to the public at-large.
Ontario is the only province in Canada that has an established population of “Small Hive Beetle“. SHB is a serious pest and threat to bee colonies worldwide. Importation of hives from Ontario increases the change that this pest will become prevalent in Nova Scotia. Moreover, the need to import hives from out of province has diminished substantially. The provincial government has been investing in honey bees here in Nova Scotia for years, and for the first time in decades there are enough hives to meet the demand from growers. This is also in-part because demand for bee pollination has dropped dramatically due to low prices for blueberries, many blueberry operations are downsizing, and are cutting their pollination contracts. When beekeepers need the business the most, growers are going to be allowed to import risky hives from out of province.
NSBA President Lauren Park: Press release 3-24-17 concerning importation of bees for pollination
UPDATE: Michelle has created a petition, please read and sign!
The Nova Scotia Beekeepers Association have made their position clear, and the story is being picked up by CBC and other news outlets. Let’s hope this puts some pressure on the government to rethink their import strategy for 2017.