Presidents Message – September 2019

There’s a lot going on in the beekeeping community of BC this year.

In great contrast to the summer of 2018, when hot dry conditions led to extensive wildfires, evacuations of cities and areas with poor honey production, this year has been generally cooler with more rainfall, with resulting low fire hazard and better beekeeping conditions. I write this in early August, the middle of BC’s busy honey harvest, and my impression is that production will be good (see details in the regional reports in the August BeesCene).

BCHPA will have a display at Apimondia, enabled by funding from our members and from the Ministry of Agriculture. The organizing team led by Jenn Dilfer and Dan Mawson has been hard at work developing materials for the September 8 – 12 event in Montreal. Our display-space partner at Apimondia will be Dr. Peter Awram and Worker Bee Honey with information of the NMR Nuclear Magnetic Resonance honey authentication capability being developed there. I expect many beekeepers across Canada were pleased to see the recent report from Canadian Food Inspection Agency, that found nearly ¼ of the samples of honey imported into Canada tested as adulterated with some kind of non-honey product, while 100 % of the “Product of Canada” honey samples examined tested as authentic honey. This has been a growing issue since rice syrups were developed that were not detectable by older tests that could detect corn syrup. BCHPA strongly advocated for CFIA increasing their surveillance and although we didn’t receive a reply to our letter, it is somewhat satisfying to see that the new technology is being tested and found effective.

BCHPA is pleased to partner with the BC Ministry of Agriculture to support bee research projects identified as high priority by our members: Five supported this year include 1) further investigation of concerns about the health of  honey bee colonies involved in blueberry pollination 2) a method beyond NMR honey authentication, proactive, supplemental and lower cost 3) supporting the efforts of the National Bee Diagnostic Centre’s efforts to characterize strains of foulbrood diseases, 4) lab and field testing of a novel Varroa control product and 5) advanced quality testing of queen and drone stock produced in BC.

BC Ministry of Agriculture is also supporting relatively smaller community projects intended to improve bee health throughout the province by funding through what is called the Bee BC program, and it has been extended. We at BCHPA look forward to hearing more of the projects accepted by Investment Agriculture Foundation for this support. Each project will have reports in due time, but we hope to have some results presented at our education days in October in Prince George.  In addition to these worthy initiatives in support of honey bees in BC, we are encouraged to know from Minister Popham that the Apiculture Program will be maintained and improved.

Arrangements for our Annual Meeting and education days are well underway and the registration page is now active on our Conference Website. The drive to Prince George is often very pleasant in early October. I hope you will consider attending the convention.

Bees be with you,

Kerry Clark, President

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