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Ontario Beekeepers' Association: Since 1881
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June 19, 2014
Dear <<First Name>>,

Well it was tough getting the hives ready for pollination, what with the weather, but we had a record number of colonies go east, a real testament to the skill of Ontario's beekeepers. Just as we were about to take a little breather, though, the small hive beetle reared its head in Niagara. You can read more about it below, but at this point it is only in one bee yard near the border. 

We are very pleased to be working toward a positive resolution to the neonicotinoid situation in Ontario. We are still calling for a ban, but in the meantime, making untreated seed the default - which is the Liberal's platform - is a good direction. We haven't received information on number of pesticide reports this year, but the weather and pollination services were on our side for a change.

All the best,
Dan Davidson, President

Premier Wynne wins a majority

Well that was an interesting election! While the OBA did not endorse any political party, we do see the outcome as a win for bees as well. You will remember the Liberal's pledge (in part):

"Therefore, the Ontario Liberals are committed to working with the agricultural and beekeeping sectors to (1) ensure full and equitable access to non-neonicotinoid treated seed for growers, and (2) establish a system that allows for targeted use of neonicotinoids only in production areas or production circumstances where these pesticides are actually shown to be required."

Our main objective in the months ahead will be to ensure that this election pledge turns into policy. This will require working with ministerial staff as well as elected officials
across the Province and with our allies. It's a long road from intent to directive but we will be there for the whole journey.

We also want to point out that neonicotinoids aren't our only government relations objective. The OBA represents the beekeeping industry in its entirety which means we will continue to advocate for issues such as increased compensation for beekeeping losses, maintaining the integrity of the Ontario Bees Act, protecting the border from American imports (although this is a federal issue, provincial support is important), and funding for research.

Drop a note to the Premier or your local MPP letting them know how pleased you are about their support for bees.

Small hive beetle shows up in Niagara

There has been a small hive beetle find in the Niagara region, a few kilometres west of Niagara Falls near the US border. Provincial Apiarist Paul Kozak said the small hive beetle was discovered by the beekeeper and reported to the local inspector. "The good news is that after inspecting thousands of hives in 2012/13 and this year so far, this is the first new sighting.

The SHB was first identified in Ontario in 2010 in Essex County. At that time the OBA recommended a quarantine of the region which is still in effect and includes the entire County of Essex and part of the municipality of Chatham-Kent. Other small finds have occurred outside the quarantine area in various parts of the Province and have been controlled through depopulation. The beekeeper in Niagara will also be depopulating his affected hives. His losses will be covered by the current compensation fund for losses due to small hive beetle control measures.

At an OBA Board of Directors meeting called on June 16th to discuss this event, the  Directors determined that the most effective course of action was to continue to eradicate the hives but not to expand the quarantine area to include Niagara. "We've learned a lot about how to prevent and manage small hive beetles since they were first found in Canada," said Dan Davidson, "and we have a better understanding of the impact on beekeeping. At this point, we believe that over-reacting to this find could have worse consequences for Ontario's beekeepers than the beetle itself."

The OBA will be advising OMAF against quarantine at this time, but will continue to be exploring options and methods for control, as well as financial and other support for beekeepers.

In the meantime, OBA encourages all beekeepers to be watchful for SHB. Adult beetles will quickly move away from the light, so it is important to scan the top bars as soon as you open the inner cover. Adults are looking for warmth, especially during cooler weather, and will hang out along the top bar. Other hiding spots include uncapped wax cells, the crevices of plastic frames or underneath adult bees. Larvae are often found feeding on pollen patties.

As with most hive diseases and pests, prevention through good hive management is the best defence. OMAF recommends that beekeepers manage colonies for optimum strength, maintain healthy queens and minimize the amount of unprotected comb (i.e. be sparing with supering). It is also important to keep the apiary clean of any wax debris.

For more information or to comment on the OBA's recommendations, contact For more detailed information on prevention, identification and treatment, check out this OMAF publication: Small Hive Beetle Treatment Recommendations. But don't forget, when in doubt, call your local bee inspector.

Reminder: Tomorrow (June 20th) is the last day to sign on to the compensation program

If you had at least 10 hives registered and lost more than 40% of your hives or are experiencing equivalent summer losses, you may be eligible for compensation. You can get more information or apply on line at

Mark your calendar: The OBA summer meeting 

Sunday, August 17th, from 10am to 2pm. This year it's a picnic and hands-on beekeeping day in partnership with Lanark County Beekeepers' Association. Everyone is welcome, it will be potluck or bring your own picnic. No registration fee. Located at Lacelle's Apiary 126 Spruce Drive, Carleton Place. Hope to see you there. Don't forget your protective gear.

Advanced  Farm Management ProgramThe Agricultural Management Institute has announced the locations of the Advanced Farm Management Program designed for Ontario farm business owners and managers who want to improve their management skills as well as the performance and sustainability of their business. Five one-day sessions will be held over a four-month period starting in November in Ridgetown, London, Orangeville, Ancaster and Winchester. Participants who register by September 30th will receive a $150 discount on the $1,950 tuition fee. For more information visit:

Ryerson students looking for bee suits for international beekeeping project.

A group of students are going to Kenya and Uganda this summer to work in a rural community to assist with local economic development projects, including beekeeping. If you are able to help this worthwhile project and these young entrepreneurial global volunteers, contact

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