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Canadian national honey bee health survey

Castillo C, Wolf Veiga P, Martin JL, Curran C, Pernal SF (2017) Canadian national honey bee health survey. Proceedings of the 2017 American Bee Research Conference, 12-13 Jan 2017, Galveston, TX. Bee World 93(4): 106.


In 2016 Canadian beekeepers managed 750,155 colonies and produced 42,000 tons of honey valued at CD$ 157 million. Pollination services to farmers are estimated to contribute an additional 4 to 5 billion dollars to the agriculture sector. The beekeeping industry reported winter loses of 16.8%, with Provincial averages ranging from 7.7% in Newfoundland and Labrador to 24.4% in Prince Edward Island. Beekeepers cited several culprits including biotic and abiotic factors. The National Honey Bee Health Survey is a four year (2014 - 2018) study to evaluate the health of honey bee colonies in Canada. The aim of the project is to document the prevalence, intensity and distribution of most common pests and pathogens in Canadian apiaries, targeting beekeeping operations distributed throughout all provinces. Samples are collected in the summer (July and August) when hives are strong; bee populations reach their peak and before fall treatments. Results are obtained from the individual analyses of samples and reported as averages per provincial region and totals per province. The data generated during the first two years of the project show that: 1) Nosema infection was detected in 16 of the 19 provincial regions in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario; 2) Nosema ceranae was the most prevalent species within and between provinces; 3) Varroa was detected in all regions sampled in 2015, with provincial infestation levels ranging from 0.8% in Alberta to 3.2% in British Columbia; 4) Upon visual inspection, provincial AFB incidence ranged from 0% in Ontario to 0.7% in British Columbia. When cultivated in the lab, AFB was detected in samples from 9 of the 19 regions and was absent from all Ontario samples; 5) The most prevalent viruses detected in the survey were Black Queen Cell Virus (BQCV) and Sacbrood Virus (SBV). Conversely, Acute Bee Paralysis Virus (ABPV) was entirely absent in British Columbia, Alberta, and Manitoba- only identified in samples from southwest Ontario; 6) Tropilalaeps was not identified in any of the 212 composite samples collected. Preliminary data from the 3rd year sampling (summer 2016) comprising 9 Canadian provinces and 1 territory was presented.

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