VICTORIA – May 29, will be declared the Day of the Honey Bee in B.C. by Minister of Agriculture Norm Letnick, to recognize and celebrate how beekeeping in B.C. has grown from May 1858 when two hives arrived in Victoria Harbour into an industry that has a $250-million-a-year agricultural impact today.
There are more than 2,300 beekeepers throughout B.C. operating as a hobby, part-, or full time business with about 47,000 colonies, and as many as two billion bees. Bees play a key role on B.C.’s fruit, berry, and canola farms, with approximately $250 million in agricultural production dependent on honey bee pollination every year. Crop pollination by honey bees supports agricultural production in Canada worth over $1.5 billion per year, and $14 billion per year in the U.S.A.
B.C. also produces about $10 million worth of honey and other hive products a year. Different flavors of honey can be produced depending on the crops or flowers the bees pollinate. Clover, wildflower, fireweed, berry are all common light-coloured honey, while buckwheat honey is darker-toned, and has a more intense flavor.
The Day of the Honey Bee recognizes the importance honey bees play in human survival and daily life, and the partnership between the province and B.C. beekeepers to improve agricultural production, and monitor and maintain bee health.
Communities across Canada celebrate May 29 as Day of the Honey Bee to honour New Zealand beekeeper and mountaineer Sir Edmund Hilary ascent of the summit of Mount Everest on that day in 1953.
Minister of Agriculture Norm Letnick –
“The Day of the Honey Bee is a great reminder to people to appreciate how much bees contribute to our daily lives, our economy, and our food supply. The B.C. government is proud of the partnership the Ministry of Agriculture and bee keepers have developed over the years, the support our Animal Health Lab and apiarists provide to bee keepers large and small, and the quarter-billion-dollars in agricultural production that results from honey bee pollination in B.C. each year.”
BC Honey Producers Association second vice-president Kerry Clark –
“The Day of the Honey Bee is both a useful exercise in increasing everyone’s appreciation of honey bees and their current plight, but also a great example of what one committed person can accomplish with a thoughtful response to a problem they think should be addressed. A young beekeeper from Saskatchewan started the Day of the Honey Bee campaign in 2009 to raise awareness about honey bees, and since then, a large number of local governments, provincial legislatures and the Canadian national government have adopted versions of the Day of the Honey Bee proclamation, and awareness has certainly increased.”
Visit the BC Honey Producers Association: http://www.bchoneyproducers.com/
For more information about B.C.’s apiculture industry see: http://www.agf.gov.bc.ca/apiculture/index.htm
Visit their website and then the Honey Bee Centre in Surrey: http://www.honeybeecentre.com/