Ontario beekeepers lost 45.7 per cent of their colonies over the winter, mostly because of weather, according to statistics from the Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists (CAPA).
Neonicotinoids, an insecticide put on corn and soybean seeds before planting, are not listed as a specific cause of winter loss. The Liberal provincial government brought in new laws restricting the use of neonicotinoids because it argued the insecticide killed bees. Last winter loss was the second-highest since CAPA started releasing the survey results in 2007. The highest winter loss was 58 per cent in 2014. The 12-year average is 33.5 per cent.
About 117 Ontario beekeepers with at least 50 colonies responded to the survey. Respondents have the option of ranking the reasons behind the losses. Those reasons are weather, poor queens, starvation, weak colonies in the fall, nosema, ineffective varroa control, don’t know and other.
Ontario beekeepers that lost at least 25 per cent of their colonies cited the weather, poor queens, ineffective varroa control and weak colonies in the fall as the top four reasons.
“Beekeepers reported that most bee colonies died in April, which was one of the coldest, snowiest and wettest Aprils in years,” reads the CAPA report.