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Ontario celebrates World Bee Day

May 23, 2019   ·   0 Comments

Written By MARK PAVILONS and JOSHUA SANTOS

Ontario’s government is celebrating World Bee Day by recognizing the important contribution that managed honey bees, wild bees and beekeepers make to the province’s economy and environment. 

Ontario’s pollinators generate more than $1 billion in value to Ontario’s agricultural crops each year, about 15 per cent of the province’s total crop value. 

“Honey bees and other insect pollinators are important to Ontario’s agriculture, ecosystems and biodiversity,” said Ernie Hardeman, minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs. “This first World Bee Day gives us a great opportunity to recognize how important it is to protect them, work with beekeepers and grow this sector.” 

The ministry works with beekeepers to maintain the viability of Ontario’s beekeeping sector through education and outreach, an apiary inspection program, and a monitoring program to better understand the complexity of bee health in the province and risk factors such as Varroa mites, and to improve the health of bee colonies. 

Beekeepers have access to a variety of business risk management programs to cover loss and damage due to risks beyond their control. They are also eligible for funding under the cost-shared Canadian Agricultural Partnership for projects and equipment to support the bee industry. 

“Our investment in programs that support and improve the health of Ontario’s managed honey bees help sustain pollination, one of the most important services that nature – nd beekeepers – rovide us,” said Hardeman. 

King was named a “Bee City” and is a visible model for “progressive implementation of initiatives designed to protect and encourage native pollinator populations.” 

Andre Flys, of King’s Pioneer Brand Honey, said like so many issues today it’s nice to pay tribute to things we will miss when gone. Warning signs are all around us. 

“For decades now, we’ve been sounding the alarm for our insect friends. A full 40% of the world population of insects is in decline. Pollinators like the rusty patch bumble bee, which made up for one in 5 most common bumble bee species here , no longer exist in Ontario today. Political will to fix the problems has come to a standstill with the rise in populism. Voters seem more concerned with their wallets than the air they breathe, the water they drink or the protected land they once held dear.” 

While World Bee Day is important to draw attention to the matter, Flys said we need “big changes now.” 

“What on earth is the matter with dandelions on your front lawn? Why the need to mow everything in sight? Why not leave some areas naturalized? Why do we accept the spraying of herbicides on more than 20 million acres of cash crop in this province every year? Why do we accept the use of pesticides and fungicides on most of that acreage? Why do those who plant these seeds not acknowledge the threat they’re putting on the eco-system?” 

There may be hope for our future generations, Flys pointed out. Students qat 

Nobleton Public School recently talked about becoming a “Bee School” at the parent council and are looking to start the application process for next school year. Twenty-four schools across Canada have signed up to become a Bee School and introduce the importance of pollinators and habitat into the learning system. 

“It is here we need to start change. Our younger generations may well hold the key to improvement on this World Bee Day!” 

The goal of the Bee City Canada certification is to provide and promote healthy habitats for bees and other pollinator species. 

There are about 3,000 registered beekeepers in Ontario who manage more than 100,000 honey bee colonies. 

Ontario is home to several hundred species of native bees. 

In addition to producing honey, beeswax and other retail items, beekeepers provide a service to farmers by providing honey bees to pollinate their crops. 

The United Nations designated May 20 as World Bee Day to raise awareness of the importance of pollinators, the threats they face and their contribution to sustainable development. This marks the first observance of World Bee Day



         

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