To bee or not to bee …

Pollinator crisis subsides, but hives not out of the woods yet

  • Sep. 14, 2012 5:00 p.m.
The hives are healthy at Nanoose Edibles Farm in Nanoose Bay

The hives are healthy at Nanoose Edibles Farm in Nanoose Bay

The worst of the crisis in Island apiaries appears to be over for now, but beekeepers aren’t relaxing their guard.

That’s probably a good thing, because as Sol Novitz pointed out at a special pollinators picnic at Nanoose Edibles farm in Nanoose Bay Sunday, there is no shortage of threats just itching to get into the hives.

“There’s always something trying to wipe you out,” he said. “At the end of the day it’s amazing we end up with anything. It’s a big challenge.”

Novitz said the Central Island has recently become home to European fire ants which, from personal experience, he knows can deliver a sting akin to a hornet’s. As well, wood ants love nothing better than to invade a hive and take out one juicy larvae after another. Similarly, wasps have a taste for honey bees and are not shy about harvesting them. Insecticides also pose a problem, with bees succumbing just as readily to the products as the other insects it’s targeting.

The biggest  problem however, is the veroa mite, a parasitic creature that feeds on bee larvae while they’re still developing, resulting in a dramatically less healthy hive, with a resulting crash in population — to the point where an entire hive can be wiped out.

“This was the first decent crop we’ve had in six years,” he said. “The devastation with the mites began in a big way in 2006-07 and that was compounded by a very bad summer for bees — probably the worst on record. The next year wasn’t bad, but nobody had any bees to take advantage of it. Then we had the huge loss in 2009-2010, when 90 to 95 per cent of the bees on the Island were totally obliterated.”

With new miticides and protocols in place, the bees, at least in his Nanaimo apiary, are recovering, but he’s not letting his guard down.

 

Just Posted

(File photo)
The Parksville Civic and Technology Centre at 100 Jensen Ave. (PQB News file photo)
Parksville 2020 annual report now ready for public feedback

Documents can be viewed online; comments or questions to be submitted before noon on July 5, 2021

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased in Parksville

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Most Read