Review of PEI Beekeepers Association AGM 2024

Thursday 25 January 2024

This past weekend the Prince Edward Island Beekeeping Association held there annual general meeting in Charlottetown. The Atlantic Tech Transfer Team for Apiculture was pleased to attend and present at this year’s meeting. Read this week’s blog to learn about the highlights of the event, and to find out what is happening in the PEI beekeeping industry.

Review of PEI Beekeepers Association AGM 2024

President of PEI Beekeepers Association, Troy Fraser (2024)

Another successful annual general meeting of the PEI Beekeepers Association occurred on January 20th in Charlottetown, PEI, where approximately 40 beekeepers and/or industry representatives were in attendance. Throughout the event there were four guest speakers, including the provincial apiarist Cameron Menzies. Cameron provided an annual report on the PEI beekeeping industry.

As of 2023, there are 25 commercial beekeepers in PEI, and approximately 5 500 commercial hives. Additionally, PEI had an increase in the number of hobbyist beekeepers over the past few years. Overall, the pollination demand in PEI continues to exceed the supply of pollination units, and this past year the average cost per pollination unit in PEI was $225.

Last winter, PEI had a provincial winter loss of 46.7%. Since 2007, PEI continues to remain on par with the national winter loss, with the exception of a couple of hard winters for beekeeping in PEI.

Just like the rest of Atlantic Canada, the flying conditions for honey bees in PEI this past summer were not optimal. Because of excessive rainfall, there were very few flying days for honey bees, which impacted pollination and honey production. In 2023, there was 19.6 million lbs. of blueberries produced on the island, which is down from the 5-year average of 20.3 million lbs. The wet growing season added a lot of fungal pressure to wild blueberries. As for honey production, in 2023, there was an average of 25lbs of honey per hive, which was down from the 10-year average of 42lbs per hive. There were a total of 3,400 honey producing colonies in PEI in 2023, and the average price of honey was $3/lb. (bulk) or $5/lb. (retail).

PEI continues to be vigilant with their hive inspections for importations providing pollination services. In 2023, a total of 668 hives had a full brood inspection, and 324 hives had a top bar inspection. One load of honey bees was prevented from entering the province due to the presence of small hive beetle. Within the province, there was no American foulbrood or small hive beetle found.

Following Cameron’s provincial report, Ian Steppler gave a presentation on transitioning a small-scale beekeeping operation to a large-scale commercial operation. Ian is well known for his YouTube channel “A Canadian’s Beekeeper Blog”, which has over 80 thousand subscribers, and highlights his 20 years of beekeeping experience. Ian runs a third-generation family farm in Miami, Manitoba, and manages an apiary of 1 500 hives. During his presentation, Ian described how he effectively manages people, incorporates various pieces of equipment into his operation, and manages his time, so that his large-scale commercial beekeeping operation runs as efficiently as possible. To learn about Ian’s success in beekeeping check out his YouTube videos at

ATTTA was the third guest speaker of the event. The team gave a research update on our 2023 projects, which you can read all about in our past blog “Summary of ATTTA 2023 Summer Projects”. The team also discussed our training and extension work, such as our beekeeping course “The Fundamentals of Beekeeping”, and various workshops. We also discussed our new best management guide “Protecting pollinators from pesticides”, which can be found at

The final guest speaker of the day was Fletcher Colpitts, who has been a beekeeper for 40 years and is a past honey bee inspector for New Brunswick and PEI. Fletcher gave an informative presentation on queen rearing without grafting. For years now, Fletcher has been making use of how queens are naturally reared to develop a system in his own operation to rear large numbers of queens. Fletcher shared many helpful tips for how he’s been successful rearing queens. One of the biggest take-aways from the presentation is that timing is everything when rearing queens, and in order to produce good queens the timeline must be followed precisely.  

Thank you to all members of the PEI Beekeepers Association who helped organize this great event, and to those who work to support the beekeeping industry of PEI.

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