Beekeepers' Vital Role: Reporting Honey Bee Pests and Diseases in Canada

Thursday 9 November 2023

Honey bee pests and diseases present a significant threat to the beekeeping industry in Canada. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), provincial agriculture departments, and beekeepers, all have an important role in maintaining the health of honey bee populations. Beekeepers are on the front lines, responsible for the early detection and prompt reporting of honey bee pests and diseases. On the other hand, the CFIA and provincial agriculture departments collaborate to establish and enforce pest and disease regulations. Read this week’s blog to learn more about the responsibility of Canadian beekeepers to report honey bee pests and diseases, as determined by the CFIA and provincial agriculture departments.

Beekeepers' Vital Role: Reporting Honey Bee Pests and Diseases in Canada

In Canada, the management and control of reportable honey bee pests and diseases is governed by the CFIA and provincial agricultural departments. The CFIA establishes and enforces national standards for reportable honey bee pests and diseases. These standards include identification, prevention, and control measures for reportable pests and diseases to ensure uniformity in managing honey bees across the country1. Additionally, the CFIA regulates the importation of bees and bee-related products at the Canadian border. On the other hand, provincial agriculture departments are responsible for implementing additional regulations to meet the needs of their province and for enforcement at the provincial level.

The reportable pests and diseases of honey bees vary between each Canadian province. A notable variation occurs in Newfoundland and Labrador, which is the only province that has Varroa destructor as a reportable pest since the province is Varroa free2. However, other provinces may require Varroa mite populations resistant to synthetic acaricides to be reported3. Other pests and diseases which are reportable in several Canadian provinces include American foulbrood, Asian mite, tracheal mite, and the small hive beetle4,5. It is essential that beekeepers are informed about reportable pests and diseases in their own province in order to be compliant with provincial and national regulations.

Beekeepers who suspect the presence of a reportable pest or disease are obligated to notify their respective provincial apiarist. When contacting the provincial apiarist, beekeepers must provide information on the probable type of reportable pest/disease found, when and where the pest/disease was found, and any action taken by the beekeeper to address the situation. The provincial apiarist, in turn, will coordinate with the CFIA to confirm and address the threat. In some cases, government inspectors may visit the affected apiary to perform an inspection, and, depending on the pest or disease, collect samples for laboratory testing.

Beekeeper performing a regular hive inspection (ATTTA©2021).

The management of reportable honey bee pests and diseases in Canada involves a collaborative effort between beekeepers, the CFIA, and provincial agriculture departments. Together, they coordinate efforts to ensure early detection, containment, and control of these pests and diseases to protect the Canadian beekeeping industry.


  1. Bee Health Management. Honey Bee Producer Guide to the National Bee Farm-level Biosecurity Standard. 2022. 
  2. Animal Health and Protection Act. 2012. 
  3. Bee Industry Act. Bee Industry Regulations. 2017.  
  4. Bee Act, SNB. 2023.*3q5kb2*_ga*NzE0MDc0MTg2LjE2OTk1NDkwMzU.*_ga_F531P4D0XX*MTY5OTU0OTAzNC4xLjAuMTY5OTU0OTAzNC4wLjAuMA.. 
  5. Animal Health Act. Bee Health Regulations. 2019. 

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