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About Bees, Beekeeping, And Pesticides

How many kinds of bees are there?
There are over 800 species of native bees in Canada and approx. 250 in Manitoba.
Unfortunately, many are threatened with extinction, thanks to pesticides.

How long have bees been on earth?
A very long time, the oldest bee fossil found to date is over 100 million years old.

How far do bees fly?
Their foraging range is up to four miles. Should they have to fly any further, their "fuel" consumption becomes too high and their stored honey supply starts to shrink. The most effective foraging range to effectively build up their honey reserve is less than one mile.

How many foraging trips does it take to make honey?
Forager bees make approx. 150 trips to produce one teaspoon of honey. Their wings must get awfully tired!

A common wild bee: the Bumblebee

How many flowers does a bee visit?
A bee can visit up to 5,000 flowers in a single day. That's uo to 75,000 flowers over a bee's lifetime.

Beekeeping in Canada
There are approximatively 8,500 beekeepers in Canada and just over 500 in Manitoba (Source: Gov. of Canada). Our country is the world's sixth largest producer of honey.

How much honey is produced in Canada?
New figures from Statistics Canada show that beekeepers produced 95.3 million pounds of honey in 2015 which has an estimate value of $232 million. The three Prairie Provinces produce the bulk (80%) of the Canadian honey.

About pesticides
The amount of pesticides spread each year is staggering; 1 billion pounds in the United States alone (Source: The National Center for Biotechnology Information). That's enough to fill up 200 Olympic-size swimming pools. However the actual volume is much bigger because farm and commercial businesses use concentrated products which must be diluded before application. Besides ending up in the environment, pesticide residues also find their way in the entire food chain and our drinking water. One alarming fact is that 44 pesticides, on average, can be found in the human body of North American people today (Source: Pesticide Action Network)
Over 1,800 plants and seeds are currently treated with neonicotinoid-based pesticides, including those pretty store-bought flowers. Neonicotinoids kill harmfull bugs, but also kill wild bees, ladybugs, and butterflies. In turn, they harm the birds who feed on those bugs. One can only imagine what pollen from treated corn and canola does when we breath it in.
Bees are particularly vulnerable compared to other insects, like flies. Flies have adapted to eliminate some of the toxic residues in their body because they feed on almost anything, including fecal matters and carrion. Bees, on the other hand, did not develop such a faculty. As a result, there is a build-up of pesticides in their bodies with dire health consequences.

  • Neonicotinoid based pesticides are up to 5,000 times more toxic than DDT for bees.
  • It's time to ban bee-killing pesticides by David Suzuki
  • Research Links Neonicotinoids to Monarch Butterfly Declines by Jonathan Latham
  • Impacts of Insecticide Use on Monarchs
  • Planting Garden Center Flowers
  • Declines in insectivorous birds are associated with high neonicotinoid concentrations

  • Buffalo Country Apiary
    PO Box 649
    Lundar, MB R0C1Y0
    Phone: (204) 762-5523