Public interest and support for bees has skyrocketed over the years, and now, the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture is helping support the health of the humble bumble bee.
Beekeepers on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands are working with the province on a project called ‘Ethical Bees’, which aims to combine the strengths of local bees with desirable traits from other bees.
For example, beekeepers on the Island hope to introduce Varroa sensitive hygiene, which helps the bees prevent Varroa mites from reproducing and infesting the bees’ eggs, larvae, and pupae.
“We’re developing stronger bees that have an increased resistance to viruses and parasites,” said Iain Glass, a beekeeper on Vancouver Island.
“We all want healthy bees, and thanks to this funding, we can continue this grassroots movement with our group of dedicated beekeepers.”
Funding from Ethical Bees has provided equipment to five different communities across South and Central Vancouver Island, and the Gulf Islands, with an additional $3000 for each community on its way.
In total, the Bee BC program will provide up to $100,000 to beekeepers and researchers over the next two years.
“Across Canada, honey bees have an economic contribution estimated at over $3.2 billion,” said the Ministry of Agriculture in their press release.