Two bees

If the bees are stuck in the hive in the spring because of snow, that can contribute to disease. (Denis Calnan/CBC)

Some P.E.I. beekeepers are saying the slow onset of spring has contributed to the death of their bees.

Bees eat the nectar of flowers, which were a few weeks late blooming. The problems were compounded by a late snow melt, which left hives covered in snow longer. The extra weeks stuck in the hive contributes to disease.

"They came out this spring, there was nothing for them because it was so cold this spring," said Brad Carson, who has about 600 beehives on P.E.I.

"Everything was about, what, two-three weeks behind. So they had nothing to eat and the poor things were starving to death."

Some loss over winter, usually between 10 and 15 per cent of population, is normal.

Carson estimates twenty per cent of his bees died.