Collateral victims of the heatwave, bees are suffering in Alberta
“This technology, developed in Alberta, connects farmers of all kinds with experts across Canada through live voice or visual assistance “
*Translated to English from CBC Radio-Canada
The high temperatures felt in Alberta this summer have reduced honey production and increased the presence of moths. Alberta beekeepers are trying to save what they can before winter.
Dressed in a head-to-toe protective uniform, Jennifer Paterson walks around her beehives 40 minutes northwest of Calgary. She and her bees have had a rough summer. This passionate beekeeper could only observe the damage.
With the hot weather, all the surrounding flowers were under pressure. They flowered in 10 days instead of 4 weeks. My bees did not have time to collect all this food which quickly disappeared due to the drought, she explains.
This fall, Jennifer Paterson takes a sad toll. The production of its Black Mountain Honey will be half as much as last year. She harvested 400 kg instead of the usual 800 kg.
Less honey means less cash flow for this Albertan who has been a part-time beekeeper for seven years. I probably lost some beehives in the heatwave, reckons the one who calls her bees her daughters.
The heat has also made varroa mites thrive, a species of parasitic mites that can decimate a farm throughout the winter.
To fight against this scourge, Jennifer Paterson tries to find solutions thanks to the AGvisorPro platform on her smartphone.
This technology, developed in Alberta, connects farmers of all kinds with experts across Canada through live voice or visual assistance. A paid service.
After making an appointment, she manages to connect with Renata Borda of the Alberta Beekeepers Commission, who advises her to act … and fast.
A provincial problem
“A lot of Alberta beekeepers come to see me and are worried,” says Renata Borda. “Bees face unprecedented challenges this year. I recommend using chemical treatments against these mites as soon as possible to avoid the worst.”
According to Renata Borda, some beekeepers could lose up to 80% of their production this year. The provincial government has set up an emergency fund, but only 180 of them, out of 2000, would be eligible.
Jennifer Paterson is crossing her fingers not to see her daughters disappear. She best prepares her bees for winter by serving them sugar water, a source of carbohydrates essential for their energy.