GUELPH, ON (July 20, 2016) – Ontario’s bees overwintered well this past year, as losses of only 18% were reported by the Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists yesterday.
Nationally, average overwintering losses were 17%, putting Ontario on-par with the rest of the country and several provinces reporting significantly higher losses than this province. The top two reasons for bee losses noted by Ontario beekeepers were poor queens and starvation.
“We are pleased to see these promising numbers for bees in our province,” says Mark Brock, Chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario. “This year’s losses are less than half of what was experienced the previous year.”
When considering the impact of weather, Ontario’s overwintering losses appear higher following severe winters and lower following mild winters. For instance, low losses (only 12%) were reported during the mild 2011/12 winter, while higher losses (over 30%) were reported during the following two long, harsh winters. This past winter brought moderate weather, and continuing this trend, brought lower bee losses.
“It is worth noting that the most recent overwintering numbers are prior to Ontario’s seed treatment regulations being in place,” says Brock. “As we continue to see data that indicates strong bee populations and numerous bee health factors, it reinforces that Ontario’s rush to restrict neonicotinoids was unnecessary.”
Grain Farmers of Ontario
Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 barley, corn, oat, soybean and wheat farmers. The crops they grow cover 6 million acres of farm land across the province, generate over $2.5 billion in farm gate receipts, result in over $9 billion in economic output and are responsible for over 40,000 jobs in the province.