CAPA report on honey bee wintering losses in Canada (2022)

Citation

Ferland, J, Kempers M, Kennedy K, Kozak P, Lafrenière R, Maund C, Menzies C, Mesher C, Muirhead S, Nasr M, Pernal S, Sproule J, van Westendorp P, Wilson G (2022) CAPA report on honey bee wintering losses in Canada (2022). https://capabees.com/shared/CAPA-Statement-on-Colony-Losses-2021-2022-FV.pdf

Abstract

The Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists (CAPA) and Provincial Apiarists
coordinated the annual honey bee wintering loss report for 2021-2022. As in previous years, the
survey consisted of harmonized questions based on the national beekeeping industry, with
Provincial Apiarists collecting survey data across all provinces. Respondents collectively operated
480 983 honey bee colonies across Canada, representing 59% of all colonies wintered during
2021-2022. The national winter loss, including non-viable bee colonies, was 45.5% with provincial
losses ranging from 15.3% to 57.2%. The national colony loss reported in 2022 is almost twice
the average of annual losses reported between 2007-2021 (25.8%). Despite these losses,
Statistics Canada reports that the total national colony count increased by 37.5% from 2007 to
2021, through the hard work and expense of beekeepers replacing dead or weak colonies.
Nevertheless, projected registered numbers of hives in 2022 will be difficult to determine, based
on the high losses incurred last winter.

Each province ranked the top four suspected causes of colony losses as reported by respondents.
In previous years, these have varied among provinces, however this year the reported causes
were far more consistent. In 2021-22, the most frequently cited causes of colony losses were:
ineffective varroa control, poor queens and weak colonies in the fall.

Beekeepers also responded to questions about the management of four serious parasites and
pathogens to beekeeping: Varroa destructor, Nosema spp., American Foulbrood (Paenibacillus
larvae) and European Foulbrood (Melissococcus plutonius). Beekeepers in most provinces
reported that they monitored for varroa mites, however a proportion of beekeepers in some
provinces neglected to do so. The most commonly reported varroa treatments were: Apivar®,
formic or oxalic acid treatments in the spring; Apivar® or formic acid in the summer/fall; and
oxalic acid in late fall. Canadian beekeepers treated their colonies to manage the risk of
nosemosis, as well as American foulbrood and European foulbrood. Across the country,
registered antibiotics were the commonly used treatments, with methods and timing of
applications varying among provinces.

Provincial Apiarists, technology-transfer personnel, and researchers have been working with
beekeepers across Canada to encourage them to monitor for honey bee pests, especially varroa
mites, brood diseases, and nosema, and to adopt recommended integrated pest management
practices to keep these pests under control. CAPA members continue to collaborate through
working groups encompassing diverse stakeholders to educate and to develop and improve
management options for beekeepers to keep healthy bees and manage winter losses in Canada.

Publication date

2022-09-15

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