Honeybee Facts

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How many honeybee colonies are in Canada?

As of 2016, there were 750,155 colonies in Canada and 305,000 colonies in Alberta.

How many beekeepers are in Canada?

There were 9,859 beekeepers in Canada and 1,400 beekeepers in Alberta in 2016.  80% of the colonies are managed by commercial beekeepers.

How much honey does Canada produce yearly?

This can vary due to weather and crop conditions, in addition to the health status of the bees.  In 2016 Canada produced 92,184,00 pounds of honey, with Alberta accounting for 38,125,000 pounds.

Floral sources vary across the country.  In Alberta the primary crops are canola, alfalfa and clover.

Canadian honey is highly regarded across the world for being light in color, sweet tasting, and of high quality due to our food safety standards.

What do beekeepers do with their bees for the winter?

All beekeepers overwinter their colonies, with the majority being wintered outdoors.  The bees are fed and medicated in the fall once honey production is completed, and for many beekeepers that will be the last time they manage their colonies until spring.

Wintering losses can vary, with losses of 10-20% being ideal.

Can Canadian beekeepers import honeybees from other countries?

Canada does import queen bees from the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Chile.  We also import package bees from New Zealand and Australia.

Canadian beekeepers also raise their own queens and overwinter their colonies, with bee stock imports being a vital tool in maintaining and growing our populations.

How beneficial are honeybees to Canadian agriculture?

Honeybees are a key component of Canadian agriculture.  For detailed information regarding the full impact they have, please click here.

I have a pool/hot tub and there are bees all over it, what can I do?

Honeybees, like all creatures, require water.  They generally receive all the water they need from lakes, ponds, sloughs, river beds, etc.  At times this does include hot tubs and pools during derth periods or drought conditions.

To deter the bees from a hot tub or pool it is very important that there is a tight fitting lid/cover in place when not in use.  If it is left uncovered when not in use, the bees will quickly orientate to it and it will be difficult to stop them from visiting.  You can also place pails of water (that have a little bit of salt added) between the hives and the pool/hot tub.

Are honeybees aggressive?

Not at all!  Bees in Canada are defensive by nature, and will only pose a problem if they are disturbed.  If you leave them alone, they generally leave you alone.

Keep in mind that bees do not like dark colors (as it reminds them of natural predators), strong aromas (perfumes, alcohol, etc.), and rapid movements.

What makes for a good bee yard?

Beekeepers are always looking for locations to place their bees.  The primary things we look for is good north shelter, high ground, good access, and ideal forage within flying distance.  Having bees in town, on acreages, etc., is not ideal for a commercial beeekeeper.

There is a swarm on my property, what should I do?

While it is not ideal for colonies to produce swarms, it does happen from time to time.  If you find a swarm, ensure what kind of bee it is first.  If you have wasps/hornets/bumblebees and want them removed, it is best to call an exterminator.  If you have honeybees, contact your local beekeeper or local hobby beekeeping association.

What can I do to help honeybees?

Beesmatter is a great initiative that has partnered with Canada’s national honeybee organization, the Canadian Honey Council.  Their website has excellent information that details all you can do to help.  Their website can be found at www.beesmatter.ca