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A beekeepers' perspective on bee health

(NC) The honeybee industry has experienced many struggles over the past decade. Challenges have included the Varroa mite, diseases, invasive pests, and poor winter weather conditions. Despite these challenges, Lee Townsend, Alberta beekeeper and vice-president, TPLR Honey Farms Ltd. believes that “the Canadian honeybee industry is thriving and vibrant.”

Townsend also stated that, despite reports to the contrary, the introduction of neonic seed treatments in Western Canada was extremely positive because it meant less crop spraying and more forage for bees for both honey production and pollination services. “When you take into account that the majority of Canada's colonies are exposed to neonics in some manner without issue, there is more to the problem than being stated,” he says.

Furthermore, Townsend says stakeholders have been quick to respond. “Since the first instances of neonic exposure to honeybees was reported, both the growers and seed manufacturers clearly demonstrated a willingness to work with affected beekeepers,” says Townsend.

Townsend says there is a need for further research into the bee health issue, specifically, information on the health status of affected colonies prior to suspected neonicotinoid exposure, and clear records of what treatment methods beekeepers were using prior to and after exposure.

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