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


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

“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

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


Without a viable alternative to clothianidin and thiamethoxam, the Canola Council of Canada feels “the ban will significantly impact the canola sector.”

Agri-food sector gearing up for neonic consultations

Government says it will listen to concerns about lack of useful alternatives to neonics

Farm groups are readying for battle over the federal government’s proposal to phase out more neonicotinoid pesticides. They’ve signalled their intention to grill Health Canada and the Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) over their plans to eliminate the use of clothianidin and thiamethoxam over the next three to five years because they pose a threat

So far only six of 99 bertha traps indicate risk.

Trap counts in the black for bertha army worm, diamondback moth surge

Manitoba’s trap counts remained in the low risk classes until mid-July, when diamondback moth populations started to reach threshold in some fields

*[UPDATED: July 24, 2018] Anyone worried about bertha armyworm will welcome the provincial trap counts so far, but some farmers may be spraying for diamondback moth. Diamondback moth is the only one of the two to report threshold populations, according to both trap data and Manitoba Agriculture entomologist John Gavloski. Eighty-eight out of the province’s

Attendees of an Aug. 30 field tour at the Manitoba Beef and Forage Initiatives site north of Brandon explore pollinator-friendly seed mix, including a swath of 
purple blooming phacelia.

Pollinator seed mixes tailor made

Just like cattle and hogs benefit from the right rations, bees can benefit from the right mix of flowering plants

What’s good for the bumblebee may not be good for the honeybee. That was the message as the Manitoba Beef and Forage Initiatives dug into pollinator-friendly seed mixes Aug. 30 during its Brookdale site field tour. “You want to have something that’s going to grow and, depending on how much time they have, legumes in


U.S. bee numbers growing

CNS Canada – Honeybee populations are rising in the United States, turning around a recent trend of declines attributed to a set of factors know as colony collapse disorder. It’s estimated that 84,430 hives were lost to the disorder in the first quarter this year. That’s down 27 per cent from a year earlier. Year-over-year

Purple prairie clover is just one in a long list of native species on rangelands that have ‘co-evolved’ with native pollinators.

You want pollinators to make their home on your range

There is a buzz on range-and pasture lands. And we really need to pay attention to native pollinators and the benefits that they provide, says a rangeland ecologist. “Pollinators are critical to rangelands themselves, and the plants that are there,” said Cameron Carlyle, an assistant professor at the University of Alberta, who is not only