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Beekeepers fret over Ontario funding for hive fatalities

A Sudbury beekeeper isn't sure new provincial funding for hive fatalities will help apiaries in northeastern Ontario.
Beekeepers in northeastern Ontario have lost, on average, 50 per cent of their hives. (Canadian Press)

A Sudbury beekeeper isn't sure new provincial funding for hive fatalities will help apiaries in the northeastern Ontario.

The long winter and spring has killed an average of 50 per cent of hives in the region.

Last week the Ministry of Agriculture announced a new, one-time funding program that would give $105 per hive to beekeepers with 10 or more hives — and who have lost 40 per cent of their colonies.

"It's better than nothing, but there's still a lot of confusion as to who qualifies,” said Wayne Leblanc, who heads the Sudbury Beekeepers Association.

Leblanc said many northeast beekeepers have fewer than 10 hives.

"I'm not under that magical number. It should apply to everybody."

Leblanc lost four of his eight hives this year, and said things still aren't looking up for his bees.

"There's nothing budding now and it's May,” he said.

“They need protein to feed their larvae, so if you don't have protein, there's no new bees coming."

The province reports there are 19 beekeepers in the northeast who are eligible for the funding: four in Cochrane, one in Temiskaming, twelve in Greater Sudbury and two in Nipissing.

Tibor Szabo, the first vice president with the Ontario Beekeepers Association, said even for those who can apply, $105 dollars per hive isn't enough.

"You couldn't even buy a colony for $300 right now, and that doesn't take into account that you lose the season of bee product from that colony, so it's very little.”

Ministry spokesperson Mark Cripps said the bee funding will not be affected by the recent election call.

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