ATTTA Summer Update

Thursday 18 August 2022

It is that time of year! The beekeeping season is buzzing along, and the Atlantic Tech Transfer Team for Apiculture has been seizing every moment! For our field work, we are largely focused on three projects which span across the Maritime provinces. Read on for a glimpse into our major projects this summer and how they are progressing.

ATTTA Summer Update

Optimizing Wild Blueberry Pollination

This year, 2022, marks the final year of ATTTA’s five-year study regarding the optimization of wild blueberry pollination by honey bees. This season, we have eight research plots in wild blueberry fields in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. We first visited these fields in May and early June, when honey bee hives were placed for pollination. At this time, we assessed the hives for strength and assessed the percent bloom on the fields. After the hives had been removed and pollinated flowers were beginning to develop into berries, we returned to the fields to assess what percent of flowers were successfully pollinated and appeared as unripe, green fruit set. Now, we are in the midst of returning to each field a final time to assess the percentage of ripe berries that are developed and ready for harvest! We also assess these berries in the lab for weight and seed count.

Wild blueberry stem marked for plant assessments (ATTTA©2022).

The aim of the research is to evaluate the effect of moving hives during pollination on blueberry fruit set and determining the optimal timing of placing honey bee for wild blueberry pollination.


Efficacy of Apivar® and Api Life Var® against Varroa destructor in eastern Canada

This summer, we are travelling through the Maritimes, collecting honey bee samples, in order to test the efficacy of Apivar® and Api Life Var® on Varroa mites. Starting at the end of July, we visited nine apiaries to collect samples of honey bees and their associated varroa mites for miticide testing. We brought the samples to our lab, treated the bees, and assessed the varroa populations effected by the treatments. This week, we began our second round of assessments, in which we return to the same apiaries for another collection of bees and mites to sample for treatment.

The aim of this project is to assess the efficacy of Apivar® (amitraz) against Varroa destructor in honey bee colonies in NB, NS, and PE; determine the efficacy of Api Life Var® against Varroa destructor in honey bee colonies in NB, NS, and PE.

Overwintering Queen Bank Trial

As a second year of pilot work, our overwintering queen bank trial has received additional funding and supported from Nova Scotia Beekeepers Association. We are working towards overwintering two hives with multiple queens banked within. In preparation for this, we completed two rounds of queen rearing at the end of June and early July. We are also growing strong colonies to eventually transform into our queen banks in the fall. In the spring, we will see how many queens survived the winter in the banks and measure the viability of those overwintered queens.

Worker bees on drawn out queen cups (ATTTA©2022).

The aim of this project is to determine the feasibility of mass queen overwintering outdoors in the Maritime region by evaluating the success of two different queen bank configurations.

Throughout the fall and winter, we will be able to assess the data that we collect in our summer field work. We look forward to sharing our findings at various honey bee and wild blueberry association meetings as well as here in our blog.

Connecting with ATTTA Specialists

If you’d like to connect with ATTTA specialists or learn more about our program, you can: