Fiona Aftermath

Friday 7 October 2022

The past two weeks have been challenging ones for Atlantic Canadians in the aftermath of Fiona. In this week’s blog, we will take a break from our discussion of honey bee biosecurity to focus our attention on the impacts of the storm. Fortunately, Atlantic beekeeper reports indicate that hive losses were relatively low. Nonetheless, difficulties with loss of utilities and debris clean up will create significant hurdles in this season’s fall management. Read to the end for information on possible financial help for beekeepers impacted by the storm.

Fiona Aftermath

Fiona was the strongest recorded storm to impact Canada in recent memory!  The post-tropical storm hit land in Guysborough county of Nova Scotia with the highest reported wind gusts, at 179 kilometers per hour, in Antigonish county. In Channel-Port au Basque, Newfoundland there were record-breaking water levels of 2.73 meters. The force of these extreme conditions led to the devastation of much infrastructure and many trees throughout Atlantic Canada.

Farm damage in Pictou county, Nova Scotia after Fiona. (Katie Trottier)

One of the major and shared consequences felt by many Atlantic Canadians after Fiona was loss of power. Residents in all Atlantic provinces were impacted by power outages in the aftermath of the storm. In Nova Scotia, up to 415,000 Nova Scotia Power customers were without power at the worst of the outages. The morning following the storm left roughly 82,000 Maritime Electric customers in Prince Edward Island with power outages (MacIsaac 2022). Newfoundlanders experienced widespread power loss, as well, and in New Brunswick more than 21,000 customers were impacted (The Canadian Press 2022). Restoration of power has been difficult. One week after the storm, on October 2nd, there were still 27,200 Nova Scotia Power customers without power, 21,500 Maritime Electric customers in PEI without power, and more than 3,600 Newfoundland power customers affected by outages (The Canadian Press 2022).

Tree loss in Prince Edward Island after Fiona. (CBC News, submitted by Devin Wolters)

For beekeepers, Fiona struck at the height of fall management. Beekeepers are feeling the impacts of power outages at a time when honey harvest and subsequent feeding would normally be in full swing. This will impact management and delay important activities. Reports from Nova Scotia beekeepers state, 

Hives are fine, lost some covers on a few hives but no real damage, difficulty now is extracting, mixing sugar without power. Bee work is postponed until power is restored. I have a lot of fallen trees to contend with on roadways into yards and on a few hives. Need a power saw to check anything.” – Mario Swinkels, Swinkels Bee Products

I didn't loose any hives, lots of trees to clean up. Only real impact I am facing is delay of harvest; I have about 30 plus pallets of honey supers in heating room I have to reheat before I can extract.” – Ben Cornect, Cornect Family Farm

For many beekeepers, the interruption in honey extraction and mixing of sugar syrup will make fall management more difficult and time consuming. Removing trees, which are limiting apiary access, creates additional work and delays. There are other Nova Scotia beekeepers who experienced more direct apiary impacts with hives being blown away or destroyed by fallen trees, some reporting hive losses of nearly 50%. In this case, there is loss of bees and equipment, with windswept debris spreading over large areas. 

President of the PEI Beekeepers Association, Troy Fraser, reported that beekeepers who were properly prepared for the storm fared well, overall. With regard to fallen trees and power outages, Prince Edward Island beekeepers are facing challenges similar to Nova Scotians and may experience delays in honey extraction and fall feeding. Positive news from the New Brunswick Beekeepers Association president, Chris Lockhart, indicates that New Brunswick Beekeepers were largely able to weather the storm, as well. Updates from Newfoundland beekeepers have also been mostly optimistic. 

Two beehives narrowly avoid the impact of fallen trees. (ATTTA©2022)

As we continue to recover from this outstanding weather event, it is important to know that there are financial resources to help those affected. Please visit your provincial government websites to find valuable information on support towards recovery and explore the links to some resources below. 

Nova Scotia:


The Canadian Press. “Eastern Canada begins assessing the full scope of Fiona’s damage: More than 380,000 customers without power across the 4 Atlantic Provinces.” CBC News. Sept 25, 2022, Accessed Oct 4, 2022.  

MacIsaac, Alex. “Over 48,000 customers still waiting for power to be restored in N.S. and P.E.I.” CTV News Atlantic, Oct 2, 2022. Accessed Oct 4, 2022

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