By Donna McMillan
THE governments of Canada and Ontario launched a new targeted beekeeper intake to support and strengthen the health of managed honey bees and Ontario’s beekeeping sector, MPP Toby Barrett shared in a press release spring 2021.
“This is welcome assistance,” he said, noting beekeepers will be able to apply for funding to support honey bee health and business capacity.
The announcement was welcome news to Kelly Moodie, President of the Haldimand-Norfolk Beekeepers Association.
Representing approximately 50 area beekeepers, Kelly told the Maple Leaf that “usually a lot of hives don’t make it through the winter. They need to be replaced. Without bees, there is no food.”
This past winter, she shared, “Moodie Bees” came through with three out of 21 hives surviving. “The year before, with 57 hives, we came out with a couple,” she said. “We had to buy hives from bigger beekeepers.”
She also noted that many bee losses in Norfolk are due to pesticide poisoning and crop spraying.
As well, there is Foulbrood, a fatal bacterial disease of honey bee brood and Varroa mites that attack and feed on honey bees.
Besides climate, Kelly also mentioned bees are impacted by noise pollution. She noted, for example, 50 percent funding can help local beekeepers with hive replacement, hive wraps and insulated hive tops.
According to the press release, beekeepers will be able to apply for funding to support honey bee health and business capacity, including the following:
o Purchase equipment to prevent the introduction and spread of disease and increase overwinter survival of bees.
o Sampling and analysis for pests and diseases.
o Purchase of domestically raised queens to assist in building resilience.
o Business supports to help beekeepers grow their business.
A new maximum will allow commercial beekeepers to receive up to $10,000 in cost sharing funding for those with 50 colonies or more. And, it will continue to offer cost-sharing funding up to $3500 for operations with less than 50 colonies.
The Partnership includes a $2 billion commitment that is cost-shared 60 percent federally and 40 percent provincially for programs that are designed and delivered by provinces and territories.
Under the first targeted beekeeper intake, over $550,000 was invested into the cost-share funding for 350 projects for beekeepers owning more than 20,000 hives across the province, the press release shared.
Asked what area residents can do to help the Haldimand – Norfolk bee population, Kelly suggested “not making your lawn look so perfect. Leave dandelions. Cut your grass less. Look for natural ways to get rid of things (crushed egg shells for slugs). Try to stay as natural as possible.”
And, when in doubt, the Haldimand – Norfolk Beekeepers Association is happy to answer questions from the public at firstname.lastname@example.org
Originally published June 9, 2021