hi-honey-bee

Ottawa is giving $370,000 to beekeepers in Saskatchewan who've been hit by dying bee populations. (iStock)

Saskatchewan beekeepers who say their bees are dying hope a $370,000 grant from the federal government will help them find answers and stay in the honey-making business.

The money announced Wednesday will go to the Saskatchewan Beekeepers' Association, whose members have been hurt by rapidly declining honey bee populations.

Barry Brown, the president of the Saskatchewan Beekeepers' Development Commission, has been a beekeeper since 1973 and says this spring was the worst ever.

"I've built up to 800 hives, and this year I lost 300 of them, just straight off in the spring," he said. "Three hundred hives were dead and no real reason why this occurred."

Other beekeepers in the province lost 80 per cent of their hives, Brown said.

Around the world, what's called "colony collapse syndrome" has reduced bee populations about 60 per cent in recent years, Brown added.

The new money will be used to figure out how to control mites and other pests, and how to help the bees cope with Saskatchewan's weather.

"We're looking for a smoking gun," Brown said. "We don't know why our bees are dying.  We're looking for more science-based research."