Smuggled queens causing a buzz
Some say the smuggling of queen bees is a threat to Saskatchewan apiaries. Queen bees have been smuggled to Canada from the United States since an import ban on U.S. bees was imposed in the 1980s. Now the reason for that ban has local hive keepers worried.
The worry is that the U.S. bees carry mites that spread among a bee population, eventually killing them. Though some beekeepers want the border opened for easy access to queen bees, others say that would ruin the honeybee industry.
John Gruska is the province's bee specialist. He says that the risk of opening the border is still unknown, but the threat is enough to worry local beekeepers.
"The problem with opening the border, is that we would be unable to control the movement. The industry in Saskatchewan has said we don't want to go there yet," he says. "We feel that it would compromise all the clean bees we have in the province virtually overnight, and that's a concern."
Queen bees can sell for up to $15 each. Smugglers can get an additional $3 per bee. More than a hundred bees can be smuggled in fairly small container.
Bee smugglers face fines for bringing bees from the United States into Canada.