GFM Network News


Steppler Farms gets hives going for the 2021 season.

Honey market riding high, despite pandemic pitfalls

Pandemic pressures have helped drive local honey prices up over the last year

Manitoba’s beekeepers might be in for a really good year — assuming pandemic-driven logistical issues, labour shortages and the province’s still-dry conditions don’t keep them from cashing in. Why it matters: Financial signals are good for the honey industry, although producers still have plenty of hurdles to clear. In March, all signals initially pointed to good hive survival after a mild winter and

Ian Steppler accepts his award during the virtual North American Pollinator Protection Campaign conference on Oct. 20.

Manitoba beekeeper receives recognition for protecting pollinators

Ian Steppler uses a thriving YouTube channel and speaking engagements to share his philosophy

A Manitoba beekeeper has received national recognition for his work advocating for and protecting pollinators. Ian Steppler accepted the 2020 North America Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) Farmer-Rancher Canada award for pollinator conservation during a virtual conference on October 20. “I’m quite flattered and really happy to be able to accept this award,” said Steppler who


Province, Manitoba Beekeepers announce knowledge transfer program

Province, Manitoba Beekeepers announce knowledge transfer program

Applied research and technical support will help beekeepers struggling to keep up with changing agricultural landscape

A new knowledge and research transfer program will bring Manitoban beekeepers applied research and on-the-ground support that’s badly needed said Manitoba Beekeepers Association vice-chair Ian Steppler. “It’s a direct investment into the grassroots of our industry. We’re quite excited about it,” Steppler said. The Knowledge and Research Transfer Program (KRTP), which should begin January 1,

Tim Wendell has raised bees since he was a teen, and has been rearing queen bees for about 30 years.

Queens, drones and bees that fly backwards

Three beekeeping experts explain honeybee breeding in Manitoba

To most of us, a bee is probably just a bee. Sure, there’s honeybees, bumblebees, and whatever that bee is that lives in huts on farmers’ fields (leafcutters, of course). But otherwise, a bee’s a bee, right? No, as it turns out. Like cattle ranchers and horse breeders, beekeepers pay a lot of attention to

Manitoba Beekeepers expect reduced production

Manitoba Beekeepers expect reduced production

Fewer workers, interruptions to supply chains to blame

Honey production capacity is likely to drop by 10 to 20 per cent this year due to various COVID-19-related issues. “A lot of beekeepers are planning to run less bees this year based on diminished capacity for labour,” said Mark Friesen, chair of the Manitoba Beekeepers Association. Border closures and airline shutdowns related to COVID-19


Asian giant hornets have noticeably large orange heads and black eyes; worker hornets are about 3.5 cm in length; queens can be up to four to five cm in length, with a wingspan of four to seven cm. (B.C. Ministry of Agriculture)

More ‘murder hornets’ found in B.C., Washington

Findings suggest some were able to overwinter

Reuters/Staff — Officials in British Columbia and Washington state have confirmed new sightings of the Asian giant hornet, dubbed the “murder hornet,” indicating the invasive, predatory insect survived the winter in the Vancouver area and U.S. Pacific Northwest. The stinging hornet, whose queens can grow as large as 2-1/2 inches in length, could potentially pose

“I’m hurting not having my help,” says the chair of the Manitoba Beekeepers Association.

Vegetable, honey producers still waiting on workers

Less than half of international workers expected for the season have arrived, province says

Despite efforts to bring in international workers, vegetable growers and beekeepers are still severely understaffed, according to provincial numbers. “I’m hurting not having my help,” said Mark Friesen, chair of the Manitoba Beekeepers Association. Friesen’s Canadian employee is living abroad and hasn’t been able to get back into the country, he said. As of May 11, according to numbers

Disappearing natural habitat threatens bees’ diet

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,