OTTAWA — The bee, a vital player in the Canadian agriculture industry, is getting a little help from a B.C. research team.
Genome B.C., Genome Canada and other partners are backing a project aimed at producing urgently needed tools to help beekeepers raise healthier bees and protect colonies across North America, which face widespread disease.
According to Dr. Leonard Foster, of the University of British Columbia, this year saw another disturbing drop in the honeybee population, a decrease of approximately 30 per cent in Canada and the U.S. “This level of annual loss has been consistent over the past five years in both countries. Contributing factors of these losses are various bacteria, viruses, fungi and mites attacking the bees.”
Genome Canada reports honeybees pollinate many vegetable, nut and fruit crops and contribute an estimated $2.5 billion to Canadian agriculture and $15 billion to U.S. agriculture. Blueberry, raspberry and cranberry crops on Canada’s West Coast, have suffered incalculable losses from the collapse of honeybee colonies in the province.