Winter losses of bee colonies in Ontario could be worst on record

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MONTREAL — Beekeepers across the country are expressing concern about the effects of poor weather on their colonies.

In Ontario, which has the largest number of beekeepers in Canada, the situation is being described as serious.

A survey of almost 900 Ontario beekeepers indicated that 70 per cent suffered unsustainable losses.

That’s bad news not only for beekeepers, but for vegetable and fruit growers who depend on bees for pollination.

More than 40 per cent said the recent long, cold winter that extended into spring was the main reason for the heavy losses of colonies.

Beekeepers in Alberta and Quebec have also experienced noticeable losses because of weather conditions.

Jim Coneybeare, president of the Ontario Beekeepers’ Association, says the losses could be the worst winter ones on record.

The association has also asked the Ontario government for financial assistance to allow beekeepers to recover and rebuild their colonies.

The Canadian Press