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

Beekeepers see shorter season

Beekeepers have seen their honey supply dry up sooner than usual this year. Ian Steppler, vice-chair of the Manitoba Beekeepers Association, said almost every honey producer he’s spoken to has had a shorter crop than usual this year — especially in the Interlake. Steppler, who farms near Miami, said he usually has honey to late


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,

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


“PMRA’s re-evaluation decision confirms that in the vast majority of cases, neonics can be used effectively by farmers without unnecessary risk to pollinators.” – Pierre Petelle, CropLife Canada

No new major neonic restrictions: Health Canada

Existing restrictions remain, but they won’t be expanded for the foreseeable future

No new changes are coming to the use of neonicotinoids in Canada. There will be no new significant restrictions beyond those announced last year, Health Canada said April 10 in its final decision on its review of clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiameth­oxam. The department said it will proceed with cancelling some uses of the products and

Neonic-treated canola not an ‘unacceptable risk’ for pollinators

Already facing federally mandated phase-outs from many major on-farm uses in Canada over risks to aquatic insects, neonicotinoids aren’t expected to pose “unacceptable risks” to pollinators when used on canola seed or hothouse vegetables in the meantime. Health Canada said as much Thursday as it released its final re-evaluation decisions for three neonic pesticides —

There’s a program to assist commercial Manitoba Beekeepers improve biosecurity and reduce bee disease, Manitoba Agriculture’s Rheal Lafreniere told honey producers June 16 during an event at Steppler Farms near Deerwood.

Biosecurity, disease reduction program for commercial Manitoba beekeepers

This aid under the Ag Action Manitoba Program for Farmers might be short lived

It may be a case of use it or lose it for Manitoba’s beekeepers. They’re being urged to apply now for help under a cost-sharing program that’s aimed at commercial beekeepers trying to control diseases which may only be available this year. “There is a maximum of $3,500 in the program,” Rheal Lafreniere, Manitoba Agriculture’s


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

EU nations back ban on all outdoor neonic use

Brussels | Reuters — European Union countries backed a proposal on Friday to ban all use outdoors of insecticides known as neonicotinoids that studies have shown can harm bees. The ban, championed by environmental activists, covers the use of three active substances — imidacloprid, developed by Bayer CropScience; clothianidin, developed by Takeda Chemical Industries and