President’s Message – August 2017

Much of the July 2017 news in BC was related to wildfires, the resulting community evacuations and road closures. Over 150 fires, over 40,000 people evacuated, and the Cariboo Highway was closed for weeks. High temperatures and little rain are forecast for August, so it could get worse. We hope people will remain safe and that the support systems will be adequate. Our Regional Representatives have been asked to inform BCHPA executive of any beekeepers directly affected by losses from the wildfires, to see if we can offer some assistance to them.

July of course is a busy month for beekeeping too, and although BC honey flows this year seem later than expected, there is still time for an average (or better) honey crop in areas not affected by wildfires.

A change in Provincial Government administration gives the BCHPA an opportunity to communicate with, and hopefully influence, some new partners in the development of policies that affect apiculture. Our executive looks forward to interactions with government Ministers including Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. The goal of greater production of bee stock for markets within as well as outside of BC will depend on adequate Apiculture Program staffing to meet the bee disease inspection standards that have been in place for years.

Discovery of the Small Hive Beetle (SHB) in a few apiaries in the Alberta Peace has triggered much discussion and follow-up, to help in the development of regulations that meet the right balance of preventing the spread of this pest (the severity of which is still unclear), and minimizing the impact to bee operations that depend on being able to move to meet the pollination needs of some major berry growing industries. The BCHPA’s challenge, as I see it, is to try to identify shared interests, and to help create a recommendation for a measured and logical response.

Our Annual meeting in Kelowna from October 27 to 29, in conjunction with meetings of the Canadian Honey Council and the Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists, is well developed (check the BeeBetterKelowna.ca webpage) and looks like another wonderful opportunity for beekeepers; the interests of bee operations of a wide range of sizes will be addressed. By that time, I expect we will have ready a proposal for a major study of hive health that could result in improved success in tackling foulbrood diseases, including those in blueberry pollination situations. I feel our association has a broad range of shared interests and expertise; I’m looking forward to collaboration and goodwill, and I expect the BCHPA will build on its good reputation.

Bees be with you,

Kerry

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