The Ontario government has announced a program to help beekeepers rebuild their colonies, as a means to maintain the essential role honeybees play in the pollination of agricultural crops.
Harsh winter conditions and ongoing health threats, such as from varroa mites or other pests, have knocked back bee populations. The province is anticipating higher than average mortality rates, and, to help offset these losses, the province is providing a one-time payment of $105/hive to beekeepers who have 10 hives or more and lose over 40% of their colonies by October 31, 2014 (from January 1).
The province is also exploring options to provide bee mortality insurance over the longer term.
“We recognize the critical role pollinators and beekeepers play in maintaining a healthy environment and productive agri-food sector. We want to keep honey bee colonies strong going into the growing season while we continue working with the industry to support long-term sustainability for beekeepers and the health of all pollinators,” Kathleen Wynne says via press release.
Beekeepers can continue to access existing programs like AgriStability, AgriInvest and the Self-Directed Risk Management Program for support, and are encouraged to contact Agricorp to explore their options, the province says.