Minister Alan McIsaac’s statement on honey bee health

Honey bee. Photo credit: Steve Javorek, AAFC.

The following is a statement from Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Alan McIsaac:

I would like to clarify recent misinformation about the importation of honey bees to Prince Edward Island.

While the province does allow the import of honey bees from other jurisdictions, a strict import protocol has been implemented to ensure the continued health of the province’s honey bee population.

Colonies from yards identified in 2016 or 2017 with small-hive beetle are not permitted to enter the province.

When bees are imported:

• half of the colonies from each bee yard must be inspected before entering the province for the presence of small-hive beetle and other pests and diseases using industry-approved standards – if any life stage of the small-hive beetle is found during inspection, no colonies from that yard are permitted to enter Prince Edward Island;

• colonies are inspected again once they reach Prince Edward Island – if any life stage of the small-hive beetle is suspected during the PEI inspection, those colonies are quarantined and not permitted to move to another location within our province; and

• if lab tests confirm small hive beetle, colonies must be removed from the province within 24 hours.

Bee Health Certificates (import permits) are issued on a case-by-case basis based on accurate government supplied information from the source province where the bees originate. The department has the tools available to monitor imports and prevent shipments which do not meet our strict requirements.

The Government of Prince Edward Island actively supports the protection of our bee population and recognizes its importance to many of our agriculture crops. My staff closely monitors the health of the Island's honey bee industry, and any changes to bee health are regularly communicated to beekeepers.

The department supports the honey bee industry through hive inspections, extension education, import control through the Bee Health Regulations of the Animal Health and Protection Act, and the incorporation of improved genetics through the Queen Bee Replacement Project. We are also funding partners through the Pan-Atlantic Research Fund for regional honey bee health research and technology transfer to local beekeepers.

We will continue to work with the PEI Wild Blueberry Growers’ Association and the PEI Beekeepers’ Association to ensure the continued health of our Island honey bee population.

Media contact:
April Gallant
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

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