GFM Network News


Disappearing natural habitat threatens bees’ diet

Maintaining pockets of nature among cropland allows bees to thrive on a balanced diet, says beekeeper Ian Steppler

Cropland’s encroachment on nature threatens to starve bees and pollinators, beekeeper Ian Steppler told those at a Manitoba Conservation Districts Association conference on December 4. “Where we find a balance within our countryside between agriculture and nature is where we find tremendous growth and prosperity,” Steppler said. Why it matters: Bees and other pollinators are

Kent Collins, recent graduate in Communications Engineering Technology at Assiniboine Community College, examines a beehive at 4K Honey.

High-tech hives

Beekeepers might get constant hive conditions at their fingertips once a student project out of Assiniboine Community College is fully developed

Kent Collins has a different idea of the ideal beehive — it involves a lot more wiring. Collins, along with his partner, Adam Lennox, are the minds behind the Bee Aware hive-monitoring system, a remote sensing system that promises real-time hive feedback to beekeepers. The project is the pinnacle, or “capstone project” of their study


“We tried to address the growing industry — that there were more beekeepers and colonies being operated in Manitoba.”  – Rhéal Lafreniére

Ramped-up inspections take aim at bee disease

Beekeepers have been promised at least another two years of the inspections they argue are important for bee health

Beekeepers are getting in line for their checkups, and they’re pretty happy about that fact. Manitoba’s honey producers will have at least another two years of hive inspections now that the province has approved a new contract with DLJ Consulting and its team, led by Derek Micholson. The new contract will cover 2019 and 2020,

Honeybees can’t rid themselves of deadly mites as effectively after neonic exposure, researchers say.

Neonics leave bees vulnerable to mites, study shows

The pesticides are shown to affect bees’ ability to groom themselves

Neonicotinoid pesticides affect honeybees’ ability to groom and rid themselves of deadly mites, a University of Guelph study has revealed. The research comes as Health Canada places new limits on the use of three key neonicotinoids while it decides whether to impose a full phase-out of the chemicals. Neonics are the most commonly used insecticides

Manitoba’s beekeepers say they saw less winterkill this year, despite frigid temperatures.

Beekeepers dodge winter loss woes

Initial reports hint at good winter survival for Manitoba’s bees

Manitoba’s frigid start to 2019 did little to phase the honey industry. The Manitoba Beekeepers Association says most of its members reported good winter survival rates, with the exception of some parts of the Interlake. Why it matters: Manitoba’s honey sector took a hit on winter survival last year, but this year’s numbers look more


Wild bees like this aren’t exactly like honeybees when it comes to how they react to pesticides in the environment.

Wild bees need stronger pesticide regulation

Pesticide regulations designed to protect honeybees fail to account for potential health threats to the full diversity of bee species that are even more important pollinators

Pesticide regulations designed to protect honeybees fail to account for potential health threats posed to other, even more important pollinators, according to a trio of research papers from the University of Guelph. As the global human population grows, and as pollinators continue to suffer declines caused by everything from habitat loss to pathogens, regulators need

Pollinator study looks for producer buy-in

A University of Manitoba researcher is looking for land to measure the impact of pollinator strips

Jason Gibbs of the University of Manitoba wants to know more about how pollinator strips impact the field, and he’s hoping local producers will help him. The professor of entomology has put the call out for producers willing to volunteer about one acre for pollinator habitat. Gibbs plans to plant a strip of flowering plants

Scott Lavich’s first-year Operation Pollinator site remains short after dry conditions this year.

Pollinator program faces down farm realities

Operation Pollinator providers say they are still fine tuning the recipe for success when bringing their program to the field

Scott Lavich was already sold on supporting pollinator habitat before he signed on with Syngenta Canada’s Operation Pollinator last year. The Riding Mountain-area producer already had both interest and experience in on-farm conservation, making him a perfect fit for the program, which offers up to two acres worth of pollinator-friendly seed mix and financial support


VIDEO: Bees “bee-have” to form bee beard

Ian Steppler, who runs the honey production part of Steppler Farms, ‘grew’ a bee beard with the help of his assistant, Carrie Martindale, to the delight of 117 beekeepers attending an event put on in co-operation with the Manitoba Beekeepers Association. Video footage recorded June 16, 2018 at Steppler Farms, near Deerwood, Man. Video editing

Manitoba honey producers are pleased they’ll be exempted from labelling standards aimed at unhealthy foods.

Health Canada relents on honey label

No alert about sugar content as the regulator recognizes honey as a sweetener

Canada’s beekeepers are expressing relief after Health Canada last week exempted honey from proposed new mandatory rules for nutritional food package labels. The regulations, if approved, will require pre-packaged products to carry warning labels if they exceed recommended thresholds for sugar, sodium and saturated fat. Food products containing more than 15 per cent of the