A Review of the New Brunswick Beekeepers Association AGM

Friday 17 March 2023

This past weekend, ATTTA attended the New Brunswick Beekeepers Association Annual General Meeting in Moncton. The meeting was well attended with interesting speakers and engaged attendees. Read on for an overview of this lovely event.

A Review of the New Brunswick Beekeepers Association AGM

The NBBA AGM began on Friday evening, March 10th, to welcome members. Keynote speaker John Van Alten, from Dutchman’s Gold in Ontario, addressed the group to tell the admirable story of his family business. Hearing the success of their company is inspiring and optimistic for our Canadian industry! The evening wrapped up with the opportunity to explore beekeeping equipment in a trade show and socialize with the other beekeepers and meeting-goers.

Saturday was a full day of presentations and workshops. The morning began with the business meeting of the NBBA, during which Fletcher Colpitts was acknowledged for his significant contribution to the New Brunswick beekeeping industry. Fletcher has been a major player in Atlantic Canadian beekeeping and has recently retired from his longstanding role as chief apiary inspector for the province. He will be missed in this official role but with his heart in beekeeping, he assured the group he will not be hard to find.

NBBA Secretary / Treasurer Brian Pond addressing the group.

After the business meeting, we heard more from John Van Alten. This time, presenting the queen rearing operation run by his wife Alison Van Alten through her Tuckamore Beekeeping Company. Alison is a leader in the Canadian queen rearing industry and it was enlightening to see how the company manages the production of so many queen honey bees, distributed as mated queens, queen cells, and nucleus colonies. 

Following John were the provincial updates. Provincial Apiarist Chris Maund provided an update on the 2022 NB beekeeping industry as well as an overview of the new Bee Act legislation which was enacted on March 1st. This act includes new reportable pests and disease, including varroa mites demonstrating synthetic miticide resistance. Under this act, new beekeepers must register their colonies within ten days of acquisition and one hive per apiary must be labeled with responsible owner’s beekeeper identification number. There are also updates to the rules around honey bee importation. Be sure to follow all applicable protocol prior to any interprovincial colony movement! Learn more on the Government of NB Agriculture, Aquaculture, and Fisheries (DAAF) website

Blueberry Crop Specialist, Mike Melanson, provided an overview of the NB wild blueberry industry in 2022. It was a good year for wild blueberry growth, in terms of rainfall, resulting in heavier than average berries. Estimates from Stats Canada and the NB DAAF report that NB produced between 65-78 million pounds of berries in the past season. The Honey Bee Development Program is coming to an end after five successful years and ultimately approved $582,889 towards expansion projects. 

After Mike, Karen Thurlow, the new NB Apiary Inspector spoke about what she observed in honey bee colonies this past season. Her bad news was that varroa mite populations are growing and bringing with them harmful honey bee viruses, including Deformed Wing Virus and Chronic Bee Paralysis. She encourages beekeepers to monitor colonies regularly, especially after treatments to ensure that they were successful! The good news is that there was very little impact from small hive beetle in 2022 and no reports of American Foulbrood Disease! In controlling pests and disease, Karen advises beekeepers to be proactive and not reactive

ATTTA provided an update to the group, as well, and led two workshops on the ABCs of Beekeeping and What to Choose for Mite Control. We are always pleased to participate in our provincial beekeeper association meetings for the chance to engage with the community! Dr. Luc Boudreau provided insight into the honey bee research at the University of Moncton, and the meeting closed with warm words from the NBBA Secretary / Treasurer Brian Pond.

Thank you to the NBBA for another successful meeting! In next week’s blog, we will review the NB Hort Congress!

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