Ontario gives beekeepers financial aid to offset bee deaths

Ontario is offering financial assistance to some beekeepers who have lost 40 per cent of their colonies.
The Ontario Beekeepers Association appreciates the assistance. (File Photo)

Ontario is offering financial assistance to beekeepers.

The province is providing one-time financial assistance of $105 per hive to beekeepers who have 10 hives or more and lose over 40 per cent of their colonies between Jan. 1, 2014, and Oct. 31, 2014.

Due to harsh winter conditions this year and other pollinator health issues, the province's bee colonies are expected to experience higher than normal mortality rates.

The money is to help offset the losses.

An Essex County beekeeper says the a new provincial assistance program falls short.

Tom Congdon, who owns Sun Parlor Honey near Cottam, Ont., southeast of Windsor, says the hive and percentage restrictions means only a minority of businesses will be helped.

"I don't know who they're going to pay this out to because I can only think of maybe a handful of beekeepers in Ontario that lost more than 40 per cent, so there's going to be hardly anybody that even qualifies for it," Congdon said. "The majority of beekepers, I would say, are probably in the 35-40 per cent loss last year."

According to the Ontario Beekeepers Association, 30 per cent of beekeepers lost less than 25 per cent of their bees while 28.5 keepers per cent lost between 25 and 50 per cent of their bees.

Congdon said the amount of $105 per hive does not even cover half the costs to replace a colony.

"I'm really disappointed by the steps the Ontario government has taken so far to help protect the bees," he said.

The Ontario Beekeepers Association appreciates the assistance.

"The amount per hive provided under this program is significantly less than we were proposing; however, we feel it is a good first step and shows awareness of the hardships many Ontario beekeepers are experiencing," association president Dan Davidson said.

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