According to a recent article in The Globe and Mail, some beekeepers fear the mainland bees will carry diseases that will harm the island honeybees. “No bees, no pollination. We’re at a crossroads,” Robert Liptrot, owner of Tugwell Creek Honey Farm, told the Globe. “We have to determine if the European honeybee will survive as a major pollinator.”
In March of this year, The Vancouver Sun reported that island bees had died off in record numbers, with up to 90 per cent of some colonies wiped out during the year. Some experts attributed the losses to pesticide-resistant varroa mites.
Now, with the government recently lifting the ban on bringing imported insects to the island, beekeepers like Liptrot plan to voice their concerns. “By lifting the quarantine and allowing bee imports, we’ve opened Pandora’s box on the island. There’s all sorts of potential for the spread of disease,” Liptrot told the Globe. “This is the single worst decision in the history of B.C. agriculture for food security.”