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,

More debate yet to come on neonics

Health Canada has satisfied its concern with three neonicotinoid insecticides and pollinator risk, but a decision to protect aquatic insects may yet take those chemistries off the table

Health Canada’s April decisions on three neonicotinoid insecticides won’t change much for growers this year — but it also won’t be the last word on the subject. Producers will still have access to most imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam uses following the April 11 ruling. In 2016, the federal government announced plans to phase out imidacloprid

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


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

Beekeeping is catching on in cities, and enrolment has jumped for a University of Manitoba course for hobby beekeepers.

Training critical for new beekeepers to avoid disease woes

Beekeepers stress the need for industry newcomers to be trained in disease and pest management

Manitoba’s honeybee population has recovered from 2013, when a harsh winter saw hives drop almost eight per cent, but commercial apiarists say that growth could have risks if it doesn’t come with disease management training for new beekeepers. “Education is very important in those regards and I think probably one of our largest concerns is


App sounds sweet to honey producers’ group

Beekeepers say the BeeConnected app has positive possibilities for their industry, but it’s going to depend a lot on uptake

A smartphone app imported from Australia might be the next big tool for beekeepers to manage their sometimes complicated relationship with surrounding farmers. BeeConnected, an app piloted in Manitoba last year and about to make its full-scale national debut, looks to facilitate communication between beekeepers and pesticide users. The app for Apple and Android allows

Beekeepers on front line of tick invasion

Both rural and urban Manitobans should keep a wary eye out for the blacklegged tick as its territory expands


If Kateryn Rochon is a little bit weary by mid-afternoon, it’s no wonder. It’s field season for the University of Manitoba entomologist, who has embarked on a joint mission with the Manitoba Beekeepers Association to better understand tick-borne diseases. That means getting up at the crack of dawn to check traps set the night before,