Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists Statement on Honey Bee Wintering Losses in Canada (2015)

The Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists (CAPA) conducted the annual honey bee wintering loss survey for the winter of 2014/15 in Canada. A set of harmonized questions based on national beekeeping industry profiles was used in the survey. The Provincial Apiculturists collected survey data from beekeepers across Canada who own 362,949 honey colonies. This represents 50.8% of all colonies operated and wintered in Canada in 2014. The national average percentage of colony winter loss was 16.4%. Provincial averages ranged from 10.4-37.8%. Colony winter loss in Ontario was 37.8% that is a decrease by 34.8% compared to the 58.0% loss reported in 2013/14. Overall, the reported national colony loss is one of the lowest losses since 2006/07 and represents a decrease of 34.4% from 2013/14 winter losses.

Respondents reported considerable variation in identifying and ranking the top 4 possible causes of colony losses. Answers included starvation, weak colonies, poor queens, Nosema and weather conditions.

Beekeepers responded to questions on management of Varroa mites, Nosema and American foulbrood. Over 73% of beekeepers monitored Varroa infestation, the majority using Apivar™, formic acid and oxalic acid for treatments. Despite monitoring Nosema infections less frequently, many beekeepers regularly used fumagillin to treat nosemosis. Across Canada, registered antibiotics are used to treat for American foulbrood however beekeepers in Quebec and British Columbia applied these products less frequently. CAPA continues to work with various stakeholders and is actively involved in the Bee Health Round Table to address risks and opportunities related to bee health.