Celebrating Ontario’s Bees and Beekeepers on World Bee Day

Supporting valuable honey bee sector an ongoing priority for Ontario government

TORONTO — 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 helps sustain pollination, one of the most important services that nature — and beekeepers — provide us,” said Hardeman.

Quick Facts

  • 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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