News from Newfoundland

Thursday 12 May 2022


This weekend, the Atlantic Tech Transfer Team for Apiculture (ATTTA) visited Newfoundland to attend and participate in the Newfoundland and Labrador Beekeepers Association (NLBKA) annual general meeting and Growing Together workshop! It was a wonderful opportunity to engage with the beekeeping community and hear updates from the apiculture industry. Read on to learn about what is going on with our beekeepers in Newfoundland!

News from Newfoundland

The beekeeping community in Newfoundland is growing. Every year there are more commercial keepers as well as hobbyists, playing an important role in the industry. Both groups contribute to the growth of apiculture in the province.  Increasingly, Newfoundland’s beekeepers are engaged with the sale of queens and nucleus colonies to other beekeepers, as well as mentoring new entrants. One of the most unique considerations about Newfoundland beekeeping is that there is extremely limited importation of bees to the island. Within a typical beekeeping operation, commercial or otherwise, there is effectively no opportunity to purchase new bees, including queens, from outside of the province. As such, growth is restricted to activities within the province. They are rising to the challenge! For example, commercial overwintering losses have been dropping every year since they began reporting to CAPA in 2018, with only 18.1% losses in 2021.

NLBKA President Rodney Reid speaking at the NLBKA Growing Together meeting.

The reason for strict important legislation is because Newfoundland remains one of the only regions on earth whose honey bees are free of varroa mites. The industry is working hard to keep Newfoundland this way! Despite having no varroa mites, the NLBKA is diligently working to educate beekeepers about varroa mites and to be prepared, should mites arrive. Provincial Apiarist Karen Kennedy announced new legislation which has been developed to protect the industry against a varroa mite infestation. For example, mandatory hive inspections before bee sales and increased penalties for illegal importation activities are proposed. She also announced exciting news that signage has been approved to be placed in high traffic areas to increase awareness that honey bee importation to the province is illegal. It is important for those outside of Newfoundland to know this as well. We can all do our part to help maintain the varroa free status of Newfoundland by not bringing or selling any honey bees to the province.

More exciting news from the meeting was the launch of the new NLBKA brand. Branding is a way to unify an industry and help to get your common message to the public. Check out the NLBKA website to see the new look! Agriculture in the Classroom was highlighted at the meeting as well, with representatives of the NL Federation of Agriculture speaking to the success of this program and displaying contest winning nuc boxes painted by students.

Jars of Newfoundland honey for a honey swap! See a nuc box from Agriculture in the Classroom in the background. 

The beekeepers of Newfoundland and Labrador are a very engaged community, and there is no doubt that the industry will continue to grow. During the visit, ATTTA stopped in at Tuck’s Better Bee Farm in Grand Falls-Windsor for a glimpse into the exciting agrotourism project being developed. This expanding business is just one great example of the growing and dynamic beekeeping industry in Newfoundland.  Continue to follow the ATTTA Buzz Blog to hear more news about NL and the entire regions beekeeping industry.

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